Wheaton Office

Kathy McNulty, LCSW


Paul McNulty, LCSW



Anxiety Disorders

Experiencing anxiety is a normal part of life.  Not to sound cliche' but if you did not experience anxiety you would either be dead or in a coma.  One hundred percent of the population experiences anxiety at some point in their lives and on a fairly regular basis.  Anxiety and Fear are adaptive behaviors that have kept us alive for thousands of years.  Our brains and nervous systems are hard wired to respond to danger in self protective ways and when we experience fear or anxiety our bodies are preparing us to escape dangerous situations.  Symptoms our bodies experience include sensations such pounding/racing  heart, trembling, shaking, muscle tension, sweating,  among other things.  These signs and symptoms are indicating that we need to flee and find safety.  

The difficulty comes in when we experience these sensations and feelings when we are not truly in danger but our bodies and minds are telling us we are.  That can be scary and anyone experiencing these symptoms is likely to try anything and everything in an  attempt to "get rid of" the feelings.  When these feelings, sensations and thoughts show up they can be too overwhelming and disturbing to turn off.  Yet that is exactly what we try and do is to control and eliminate them.  Ironically the more we try and control or "turn off" the feelings the more intense they can become.  They can be like imaginary monsters under the bed of a child.  The more you try and make them go away the more scared and paralyzed the child becomes. 

When living in this control pattern of  trying to eliminate anxiety and fear,  "the monsters" become the center of one's life.  Those living in this pattern literally live completely focused on the avoidance of experiencing anxiety and fear.  The emphasis in ones life can become "to not have" or to "get rid of" thoughts, feelings, past memories, sensations and experiences that might trigger uncomfortable symptoms.  This avoidance can easily devolve into avoiding important relationships, friendships, places and experiences because of the fears and anxiety that may show up.  One's live can become very isolated and lonely trying to avoid uncomfortable feelings.  

At the core of my work with individuals struggling with anxiety is to help you live a more deeply meaningful and rich life. All emotions are normal and they come and go and we'll work together to help you experience your emotions not as monsters to be feared but as children to honored.  We'll  identify what's important to you in your life and help you live life in more meaningful ways.  We'll create strategies together to help you  learn to ride the waves of difficult emotions when they show up and live life centered on what important to you not what you're trying to avoid.  

If you are struggling and need help please reach out and contact me.  I would be happy to set up an appointment with you and explore how I can help. 

Contact Me




9:00 am-5:00 pm


9:00 am-5:00 pm


9:00 am-5:00 pm


9:00 am-5:00 pm


9:00 am-5:00 pm