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Information about Anxiety, Depression and Stress

Dr. Kertz offers therapy services in a small private practice in Carbondale, IL. Dr. Kertz earned her PhD in clinical psychology in 2011 from the University of Louisville and completed her predoctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School.  She uses a cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) approach in working with clients. CBT is an active, goal-directed treatment designed to help people learn new ways of thinking and alternate ways of behaving in order to decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression.  

Dr. Kertz  accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield and HealthLink insurance. Please call 618-457-4488 or email securely at sarahkertz@protonmail.com for an intake appointment.  The necessary forms are linked below.

Dr. Kertz's Helpful Resources

I use empirically supported treatments in my clinical work. In regular language, that means I use interventions that have been shown by multiple research studies to be effective for the kinds of symptoms and problems my clients have.  I primarily use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is structured, skills-based, and has a large body of research to show that it works for anxiety, depression, OCD, borderline personality disorders, bipolar disorder, and others. I also use mindfulness and draw from other supported third-wave CBT protocols, such as Dialectal Behavior Therapy skills. 

I often recommend readings and other resources to my clients. Please find links to some of my suggestions below.


The Unified Protocol for Emotional Disorders

The Unified Protocol is a Cognitive Behavioral treatment plan that was developed because many people experience symptoms of both anxiety and depression. Rather than deciding to focus on reducing depression first or anxiety first, this treatment plan works on the symptoms that are shared across both anxiety and depression. You will see that this is a very structured treatment workbook. You can work through the book week by week if you have a lot of motivation and really make it a priority. However, it might be more helpful to work through this with a trained therapist. Meeting with a therapist provides some accountability for making progress, which is really helpful for most people. The therapist can also help to answer questions or clarify anything from the workbook that didn't make sense. Alternatively, if you're seeing a therapist who doesn't use a lot of structure in their sessions and you're hoping for something more skills focused, you could bring this into session to talk about with your current therapist. 

Difficulty Sleeping and Insomnia

Trouble falling or staying asleep or waking up earlier than you want can be really frustrating. It can also be very disruptive. Consistent quality sleep is important for building a health foundation. When people are sleep deprived, all other cognitive resources are depleted. It's hard to concentrate, pay attention, and make decisions. Your brain feels foggy. You feel irritable, grouchy, and your temper gets worse. Some people feel like little things bother them more--they don't have the resources to cope they way they do when they're well-rested. This is the treatment plan that I use with my clients. It's a structured workbook. Each chapter includes some education and helpful information and also provides steps to start getting your sleep schedule back on track.



Anxiety and Worry

Anxiety is now the most common mental health complaint in the United States. Worry is closely related to anxiety. While anxiety is an emotional experience (there are physical feelings like butterflies in the stomach, flushing, a fast beating heart), worry is a thinking experience. Worry is a negative, future-oriented thinking process where we imagine possible outcomes or scenarios. This thinking process often results in emotional experiences like anxiety or feeling overwhelmed. So while the two are related, they are also a bit different. People who worry a lot may also have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, a disorder characterized by excessive worry that is difficult to control. Working to help people with worry and anxiety is a special interest of mine, so I have several suggestions

  • The worry cure

The Worry Cure is an excellent and very practical book. I like this book because it includes a chapter with several questionnaires and surveys you can complete to see what features of worry apply to you. It's good to take these surveys multiple times as you work on decreasing your worry so you can see if your symptoms are improving. If so--keep it up! If not, you might want to consider another approach or work with a therapist if you aren't already. Other features of this book that are helpful are tools for identifying productive and unproductive worry and for challenging your worry thoughts head on.