Understanding Common Conditions

Understanding Common Conditions

All treatment offered at mindfulSF is individually tailored and collaborative. We believe that our clients are the experts of their own experiences, We utilize evidence-based treatments to support people with living the life they want more fully. Scroll down to learn more about treatments that are effective for our areas of specialization.


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is a common diagnosis that affects nearly 2.3% of the population in the United States. OCD is characterized by the presence of obsessions (repetitive, unwanted, intrusive thoughts and/or images that cause distress) and compulsions (repeated behaviors or mental acts that are performed to prevent a feared outcome and/or to decrease distress caused by obsessions). People who suffer from OCD are usually aware that their thoughts are excessive or irrational, and often report feeling compelled to engage in compulsions. For this reason, OCD can be extremely debilitating. For some people obsessions and compulsions can take up hours each day and can make it difficult to carry out tasks of daily living.

The good news is that OCD is recognized as a highly treatable condition. Research shows that a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) called Exposure and Response (ERP) is consistently effective in the treatment of OCD. At this time ERP remains the gold-standard behavioral treatment for OCD, but there are also findings to support other therapies such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and mindfulness that can also be effective in the treatment of OCD.



According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), Panic Disorder affects approximately 2.7% of the United States population. Panic Disorder is characterized by the presence of repeated panic attacks, which are discrete periods of intense fear or discomfort during which time a person experiences at least four the following symptoms:

  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sensation of choking
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Nausea or abdominal pain
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of dying
  • Numbness/tingling sensation
  • Feelings of being detached from reality or oneself

People with panic disorder often worry about having future panic attacks and are fearful of body sensations that are associated with panic attacks. Research supports that CBT including a technique called Interoceptive Exposure is an effective treatment for panic disorder. Interoceptive exposure involves gradual introduction to feared thoughts and body sensations in a systematic and repeated manner. Through interoceptive exposure you can learn to relate differently to anxious thoughts and body sensations so that they become more manageable and no longer get in the way of you living life the way you would like to.



According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), specific phobias affect about 10% of the adult population in the United States. A specific phobia is a recurrent irrational fear of an object or situation. Exposure to that object or situation typically causes an increase in anxiety that can sometimes lead to panic attacks. Depending on the phobia, people may go to great lengths to avoid contact with the feared object or situation. Researchers are unsure of the direct cause of phobias, but genetics, environment, and life stressors seem to all play a role in their development. The extent to which phobias get in the way of life vary widely from person to person. Common phobias include:

  • Spiders (arachnophobia)
  • Snakes (ophidiophobia)
  • Heights (acrophobia)
  • Dogs (cynophobia)
  • Rats/Mice (musophobia)
  • Needles/Injections (trypanophobia)
  • Enclosed Spaces (claustrophobia)
  • Vomiting (emetophobia)
  • Dental Procedures (dentophobia)
  • Insects (entomophobia/insectophobia)
  • Bad Breath (halitophobia)
  • Bridges (gephyrophobia)
  • Blood (hemophobia)


Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Do you find that you are constantly worrying and have a difficult time being present? You are not alone. According to ADAA, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) affects approximately 3.1% of the United States population. GAD is characterized by persistent and excessive worry about a number of topics that can include work, health, family, school, natural disasters, etc. In order for a diagnosis of GAD to be made a person must experience excessive worry on more days than not for at least 6 months.

GAD may get in the way of engagement in important life domains that include family, leisure, work and school.  A number of treatments offered at mindfulSF can help with GAD. These include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (CBT), and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).


Social Anxiety

The defining feature of social anxiety disorder is intense fear or worry about being judged or negatively evaluated. Social anxiety can show up in a variety of social or performance situations (e.g. meeting someone new, going to a party, job interviews, performance arts, etc.). Social anxiety disorder can cause avoidance of situations where social interaction or performance is needed. As a result, it can interfere significantly with daily routines, occupational/school performance, and relationships. People with social anxiety often recognize their fears as irrational, and despite desiring to connect with others may avoid these interactions due to the distress it causes. 

Both individual and group therapy can be helpful for Social Anxiety. 


Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs)

Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior is a general term for a group of related disorders that include hair pulling (trichotillomania), skin picking (excoriation), and nail biting (onychophagia). These behaviors are complex and oftentimes lead to feelings of shame and isolation that can be the exacerbated by physical body damage.

At mindfulSF we treat BFRBs using the Comprehensive Behavioral Model (ComB), developed by Charles Mansueto and his colleagues at the Behavior Therapy Center of Greater Washington. ComB is one of the leading Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approaches for the treatment of BFRBs. If you are struggling with a BFRB, some of the ways we help is through awareness training and support with modifications in domains that include sensory, cognitive, affective, motor and place. Integration of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), mindfulness, and self-compassion can also support the treatment of BFRBs.

If you are struggling with a BFRB contact us for a free consultation to see how we can help.