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The New Face of Anxiety: Treating Anxiety Disorders in the Age of Texting, Social Media and 24/7 Internet Access

Texting rather than talking. Gathering “likes” and followers. Making friends via a gaming console. Unrelenting 24/7 news cycles. 

Ready or not, the rise of social media and 24/7 Internet access has changed the way we relate to one another (and ourselves), leaving in its wake a whole new set of challenges for those who use it.   As therapists, you see people of all ages with these issues:   The girl who can’t put her phone away during session. The boy who isn’t sleeping after reading messages on social media.

“Friends” of all ages who shame each other for life choices and argue by text.  The socially anxious young adult who struggles to meet people in person because all of his “friends” are online.  The parent who has to contend with “Facebook shaming” for every parenting decision.  The older adult who feels out of touch and disconnected.  The impact is rampant and pervasive – as a result, treatment of anxiety doesn’t look the same anymore.  

Watch this unique and engaging recording to learn innovative ways to treat this new facet of anxiety with today’s client. 

You’ll discover:

  • Key questions to ask at assessment to uncover problematic use of technology
  • How excessive screen time effects mood, anxiety and self-worth in clients of all ages
  • Tools to help clients regulate their emotions and make wise decisions (on and offline)
  • Innovative techniques for promoting healthy use of technology with clients
  • Deliberate strategies for managing time, device use and “information overload”


Product Details
Average Rating:
Margaret Wehrenberg
6 Hours 22 Minutes
Audio and Video
13 Dec, 2018
Product Code:
Media Type:
Digital Recordings



This online program is worth 6.25 hours CPD.



Margaret Wehrenberg's Profile

Margaret Wehrenberg Related seminars and products: 5

Psy.D., Psychologist

Wehrenberg and Associates

Margaret Wehrenberg, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist, is the author of 6 books on the treatment of anxiety and depression, including her most recent book for the general public, The 10 Best Anxiety Busters. An expert on the treatment of anxiety and depression, she has extensive training and expertise in the neurobiology of psychological disorders. She earned her M.A. specializing in psychodrama and play therapy with children. Dr. Wehrenberg has years of experience as a drug and alcoholism counselor, working with the U.S. Army in Germany and Lutheran Social Services in Illinois. She also has training in trauma treatment, EMDR, and Thought Field Therapy. She has a private psychotherapy practice in Naperville, IL, specializing in treating anxiety. In addition to clinical work, she coaches business professionals on managing anxiety, she frequently contributes articles for Psychotherapy Networker magazine, and she has produced Relaxation for Tension and Worry, a CD for breathing, muscle relaxation and imagery to use with anxious clients. Her book, The 10 Best-Ever Anxiety Management Techniques, published by W.W. Norton, is a consistent top seller for anxiety management. You can find her on the web at

Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Margaret Wehrenberg maintains a private practice. She is an author with W.W. Norton publishing and receives royalties. She receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.

Non-financial: Margaret Wehrenberg is a member of the American Psychological Association and the Anxiety Disorder Association of America.

Additional Info

Program Information

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive)

Access never expires for this product.


  1. Evaluate the impact persistent “screen time” exposure can have on the neurobiological and psychological health of clients. 
  2. Implement strategies to effectively reduce excessive use of technology that leads to avoidance and increased anxiety. 
  3. Increase clients’ capacity to utilize technology in a healthy manner to decrease risk of anxiety and other mental health symptoms. 
  4. Establish clinical practices that decrease rumination and build resilience to the stress of the digital world. 
  5. Teach clients five strategies for overcoming irrational fears of social interaction in order to improve clinical outcomes.   
  6. Implement cognitive-behavioral strategies for challenging distorted beliefs and the “comparison fallacy” as related to online interactions.


NeurobiologyThe Impact of 24/7 Internet and “Information Overload”

  • Is it an addiction?  The role of dopamine
  • Variable interval rewards:  The most powerful reinforcement
  • Perpetual state of “fight or flight”
  • Impact of technology on the prefrontal cortex
  • “Multi-tasking”:  Changing the landscape of learning
  • The impact of screen time on rumination
  • Impulse control at all ages:  Instant v. delayed gratification

Why the Increase in Anxiety? 

Understand the Problem to Help Clients Find Solutions

  • The psychological hook of “checking in”
  • Broad skills deficits for coping with normal situations
  • Collective anxiety due to 24/7 news cycles
  • Generational differences
  • Illusions of perfection online
  • New fears created/exacerbated by digital media:
    • Negative evaluation/rejection
    • Having behavior recorded or posted publicly
    • Fear of missing out (FOMO)
    • Confrontation
    • Taking on responsibilities (“Adulting”)
    • Nomophobia
  • Use of technology to avoid emotional experiences
  • The meaning of “friend” has changed
  • Cyberbullying at all ages:  The power of anonymity

Strategies that Promote Healthy Use of Technology

  • Key questions that uncover anxiety related to digital media use
  • Techniques for providing meaningful psychoeducation
  • Use “demand delays” to diminish impact of rapid screen shifting
  • Tools for setting device boundaries to create more balance
  • “Be still” techniques to tolerate time away from devices

Therapy Tools to Improve Emotional Regulation, Reduce Anxiety and Build Self-Worth

Exposure Therapy/Coaching

  • Avoid avoidance!
  • How to provide meaningful psychoeducation
  • The 3 C’s:  Calm, Competent and Confident
  • Accurate anticipation:  The power of imagination exposure
  • Techniques for teaching social skills
  • 5 ways to overcome fears of social situations
  • Utilize FOMO (fear of missing out) as a tool for goal development
  • Address “adulting” fears

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy     

  • Challenge the “comparison fallacy” of online interactions                
    Identify and challenge distorted beliefs about the self
  • Create new self-talk by changing the script
  • Combat perfectionism and procrastination
  • Ellis’ ABCD approach to identify inhibiting beliefs

Stress Management         

  • Eliminate the stressor – incorporate media “time outs”
  • Manage time and environment
  • Shifting attitudes

Relaxation and Mindfulness        

  • Skills for calming the persistently vigilant nervous system
  • Interrupt rumination and build resilience
  • Apps that promote calming breathing techniques

Clinical Considerations

  • Identify and address personal bias/countertransference issues
  • Between-session recommendations that reinforce skills
  • Limitations of the research and potential risks

Target Audience

  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Counselors
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Case Managers
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Other Mental Health Professionals



Overall:      4.6

Total Reviews: 400


Renee M

"Engaging speaker. "

Malyn C

"She was wonderful! I would listen to her talk for hours about anything."

alexia m

"Worth my time, thank you."

Rebecca C

"This was one of the most relative and substantial PDs I've seen. Provided practical techniques to use with clients with pertinent insight to various aspects of social media and it's impacts."

Ana Carina M

"Very rewarding training. Great presenter. Very matter of fact and truly knowledgeable and experienced clinician."

Marguerite M

"Excellent. Material can be used today."

Risa G

"Excellent Course - want the recording too"

Nikki K

"Margaret Wehrenberg did a FANTASTIC presentation. Honestly, it was one of the BEST courses I have ever taken! She was knowledgeable and excellent in presenting!"

Brenda H

"Enjoyed the presentation. Thank you."

Paul B

"Very good program"

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