When our nine-year-old son became suddenly overwhelmed by paralyzing and irrational worries, research led us to the work of Dr. Aureen Pinto Wagner. We were surprised to recognize his symptoms as a form of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder because we did not detect the compulsive behavior at first. The results of working with Dr. Wagner were stunning.
We were educated about the nature of OCD and a practical, hands-on approach to provide our son with lifelong tools to help himself. Our natural instincts to provide soothing reassurance and to refute all our son's worries were inadvertently worsening his condition. Dr. Wagner effectively trained us to help our child on a daily basis, and to teach him to help himself when his severe anxieties came on. She modeled this approach for us in three sessions with our son. We were amazed to see immediate relief after the very first session. He remained worry-free for six months. When we then saw the hint of a relapse, we again worked with Dr. Wagner for one session to get him back on track quickly.
Other care providers may well have prescribed medication first, but our son found immediate relief after a single discussion with Dr. Wagner. We have been dismayed to find that her brilliant approach is not as widely known as it should be among psychologists and psychiatrists. Dr. Wagner's insights into the nature and treatment of anxiety/OCD are truly the gold standard in the field. We are forever grateful for her rescue of our son from the prison of his worries.
~ E.S., mother of 9 year-old boy with scrupulosity OCD
I suffered in silence with OCD for nearly 20 years. I had worked with other therapists in the past, but no one seemed to be able to help me. As a result, I felt alone, embarrassed, and trapped by the OCD. I slipped into denial, and thought, “This isn’t so bad, I will just learn to live with this.” Soon though, the OCD won, and I had trouble functioning in any capacity. I stopped traveling, and could not work, socialize, or even read without feeling a need to perform my rituals. This is when I decided to see if Dr. Wagner could help me.
Dr. Wagner immediately seemed to understand my anxiety and anguish, and even allowed me to help set the pace that I felt comfortable with while conquering my OCD. It hasn’t been easy, but with Dr. Wagner’s help and expertise, I have regained control of my life.
I am now able to savor the small joys of day-to-day living, as opposed to having my mind so consumed with OCD. I am also delighted to say that she has helped me to conquer my OCD without any medication, a goal that other therapists did not seem to think would be possible! For this reason, I asked Dr. Wagner if she would allow me to express my enthusiasm on her website. I want others who may feel trapped and paralyzed by their OCD as I once was, to know that it IS possible to live a life that is not only OCD free, but medication free as well! I feel liberated, and am tremendously grateful to have found Dr. Wagner. I believe that she has helped me to change my life, and continues to celebrate my new found mental freedom with me in our sessions.
~ A very thankful adult client with OCD
Dr. Wagner was an absolute Godsend to me and my 10 year-old son. She has taught both him and me lessons about how he can be in control of his worries rather than have them be in control of him and she has given me the tools to help him when he needs it. My son is now more self-confident and easy going because of Dr. Wagner.
I'm so happy that I stumbled upon her in my Google 'worry' searches in trying to find help for my son. Dr. Wagner well exceeded all of my expectations. All I wanted for my son was for him to be a happy kid without the pressures of his worries and he's finally at a point where he's just about there.
~ Mother of 10 year-old boy with anxiety
It is impossible to put into words how Dr. Aureen Wagner has changed our lives. Our 8 year-old daughter, Zoey, was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at an early age. We struggled with a different issue every day until we met Dr. Wagner. She helped us really understand the root of Zoey’s anxieties so that we were finally able to address them properly and live worry-free.
In Zoey’s words: "Dr. Wagner helped me understand myself better and she led me step-by-step through all of my anxieties. Today I feel renewed, like it never happened. I am so thankful that Dr. Wagner met with me."
Dr. Wagner is truly a miracle worker. She was a lifeline at a time when we felt like we were drowning. The techniques she taught us and tools she gave us continue to help us every day. Just knowing she is available to speak whenever we need to get back on track provides such a sense of security. Dr. Wagner has given our life back to us and we could never thank her enough!
~ Mother of 8 year-old girl with panic and separation anxiety
I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for working with me and all you've done! If you recall, when I met you, I had already been to two therapists who didn't realize my intrusive thoughts were OCD. I had to tell them my most embarrassing thoughts and one even did a Freudian analysis on me! It was grueling and I was completely mortified! So by the time I made that phone call to you, I was desperate for help and understanding. You not only gave me that, but also my life back. Where I was last summer with the intrusive thoughts and where I am now, is quite significant. I used to think about it for hours and hours a day and research how to get rid of them with various supplements and now to just notice them every once in a while is amazing. I may go weeks at a time now without noticing any intrusive thoughts. And if I have a bit of a flare up, I have the ability to see it so clearly now and know exactly how to deal with them. I was so frightened that I would have to be on medication and that I would never get better. Working with you proved otherwise. I also appreciate how easy and flexible you were to work with. I am a busy mother of two and live in a small town that's quite far from your office. So, having the option to video conference, after the first few visits, made all the difference to my success. I just wish I had gone to you sooner!
~ Adult with intrusive thoughts OCD
Dr. Wagner's techniques really work. My daughter was diagnosed at age 6 and her OCD used to control our family. She was terrified, angry, and violent, and we were miserable, to put it mildly.
Today, after working with Dr. Wagner and following her advice, my daughter is a joyful, flexible, young person with a bright future. Confronting OCD was not easy for any of us; change rarely is. But the techniques are sensible, easy-to-remember, and best of all-they make it possible to conquer OCD.
~ Grateful mother of a 10 year old girl with OCD
Dr. Wagner, I am a social worker, and attended your amazing workshop at Cape Cod a few years ago. I constantly use the information that you taught us there. I literally carry your Treatment of OCD Professional’s Kit with me at all times. I have found your model and techniques for helping children with OCD and their anxieties invaluable for my clients. They are learning how to challenge their fears with fact, not see everything as a crisis, and are much happier as a result. They also feel challenged to get, as you put it in your manual, "in the driver’s seat" and not let their fears drive them. Helping them to distinguish between their thoughts versus what is factual has so helped them to stay in better control and as a result they are far less anxious.
As a child, I was a huge worrier and had a lot of fears. It wasn't till I was an adult that I learned how to manage my fears. I am so taken with how the children of today who have anxiety/OCD can learn your techniques so that they are not stuck with their OCD or fears. As a result, they will feel the relief while they are still young. Your techniques give them skills that will benefit them all of their life.
I am getting more referrals from physicians, psychiatrists, and school psychologists because I think my effectiveness as a therapist has improved because of what I have learned from you. I will be forever grateful for this knowledge.
~ J.G, Social Worker, Cleveland, Ohio
I met Dr. Wagner 6 years ago when my son was experiencing extreme symptoms of Tourette Syndrome and OCD . He was 7 years old and we had no idea what was going on. We can't even begin to express our gratitude to Dr. Wagner. Not only did Dr. Wagner help our son in so many ways; she helped our entire family. She worked with our son on different strategies for his Tourettes/OCD and anxiety, on dealing with pressure from peers and family and on learning to accept himself. She helped our family to learn strategies for making things run smoothly at home, simple things that made a huge difference in our lives. Dr. Wagner is amazing with children; she always knows just what to say to calm a situation. She is always professional and very caring. It is hard to express in just a few sentences how much help Dr. Wagner gave to our family.
~ Parent of 13 year-old boy with Tourette Syndrome and OCD
After trying various medications and therapists to control my OCD, I was fortunate to have found Dr. Wagner. She is extremely knowledgeable in her field and has helped me immensely, first with helping me to understand my OCD and then with strategies to cope with it. A difficult OCD ritual I thought I would never overcome was eliminated within weeks of her therapy.
I was so proud of myself! I have made progress with many rituals and still have several to work on. I am confident, however that after working closely with Dr. Wagner, it will be possible to overcome my OCD thoughts and rituals.
~ Young adult with OCD
I wanted to send you an e-mail tonight to thank you for changing our lives.
Today, our 13 year old daughter said that she wouldn't go to her swimming lesson. She argued that she didn't need to exercise and made promises that she'd walk the dogs and go to the gym instead. Thanks to you, I realized that she was using escape mechanisms to not have to work through her anxiety about being around people she didn't know. Firstly, I was happy to see that although she was very upset, she didn't go past a 5 on the Feeling Thermometer. I was able to talk her through it and reason with her. We talked about the Worry Hill and I was able to help her see that her excuses were actually her trying to escape. And that if she didn't go to class tonight, the anxiety would be stronger next time. I helped her see what unhelpful thinking she was doing. I reminded her that last year she went through the same thing.
I am so thankful to you for teaching me how to help her, and I am thankful that you "rewired" her. If this had happened 6 months ago, she wouldn't have even been able to have a conversation with me. At the end of our discussion, she decided to go to class tonight and I am hopeful she will feel good after it.
When we first came to see you I was confident that you could help us, but I am amazed by how much you changed our lives. Thank you, I am forever grateful. I know that this will be an ongoing journey, but feel that we can get through it without crumbling.
~ Mother of 13 year old girl with social anxiety and anger
Our pediatrician referred us to Dr. Wagner when our 10-year old son’s daily struggles with anxiety were more than the school psychologist could handle and we were desperate for some relief. Our son was always very outgoing and eager to try new experiences and was the kind of kid who always loved going to school. But then last summer, there was a dramatic change in his behaviors. There were many mornings that he was so distraught by something he called “the feeling” that he would cry uncontrollably and totally refuse to go to school or if he did go, he would end up in the school psychologist’s office needing several hours of her time and care.
We were confounded by the sudden and extreme change in our son’s behavior and as the school year went on, his anxiety worsened and he became increasingly paralyzed by it. We were totally unprepared to deal with the increasing level of anxiety. We finally called our pediatrician for a referral. When he said the name of the practice that he was referring us to was “The Anxiety Wellness Center,” I knew right away we were going to be in good hands.
From the very first visit with Dr. Wagner, we could see positive improvement in our son’s anxiety though she reminded us that we would likely see his progress in a “two steps forward, one step back” kind of way. And that’s exactly how it was, but if you take enough steps forward for long enough, you’ll reach your destination. And we have.
By following Dr. Wagner’s insightful and age appropriate methods for identifying and dealing with the root cause of “the feeling,” our son is now anxiety free and back to his old carefree self. He hasn’t seen the school psychologist, except passing in the hallways to say “hi,” for several months now. We couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome and have thoroughly enjoyed the time, as a family, that we spent with Dr. Wagner. We whole heartedly recommend Dr. Wagner to anyone who is struggling with anxiety of any kind. Our son always looked forward to his “Dr. Wagner Days” and responded exceptionally well to the thoughtful guidance and “homework” assignments that she gave him. We left Dr. Wagner’s office feeling as though the weight of the world had been lifted from all of our shoulders and can’t thank her enough for giving our son a new way to look at and manage his past and future worries – no matter how big or small.
We will always hold a special place in our hearts for Dr. Wagner for freeing our son from his acute and debilitating anxiety and fears.
~ Mother of 10 year old with separation anxiety and panic
When I think of Dr. Aureen Wagner, many things come to mind—brilliant, kind yet firm, game-changer, miracle worker. I could go on. Words are not enough. Dr. Wagner came into our lives when my young daughter transferred to public school in the third grade. Moving from a tiny school with 45 students in total to a large school with nearly 900 students set off a tsunami of anxiety and triggered her first bout with OCD. She was convinced that many things at school were “dangerous” (I will not get specific here to protect her identity) and she could not concentrate on her schoolwork. She was fearful and teary-eyed all of the time. She couldn’t sleep at night and she shrieked if I left the house when she was at home.
When the school counselor first introduced us to Dr. Wagner, we were all pretty desperate. We had tried everything, but nothing seemed to help. I was frightened, because it seemed that my daughter was “losing it.” She had been suffering for months, with no end in sight.
From the start, Dr. Wagner was amazing. Her calm and kind demeanor put my daughter at ease. She reassured us, explained a bit about OCD and shared the types of techniques and methods that make up the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy she would use to help my daughter.
If any of you are skeptical about CBT, let me assure you—it works. And, it works quickly. I know that each child is different—but after working with Dr. Wagner for four weeks, my daughter was back to herself--laughing, optimistic, exceling at school and enjoying her life.
And, perhaps most importantly—Dr. Wagner didn’t just treat my daughter in her office—she provided her with a tool kit that she could to help herself should her OCD flare up again. Dr. Wagner explained that OCD symptoms may return during times of stress and change. This was true for my daughter. And we have taken advantage of what I call “booster shot” sessions that have rapidly restored order in my daughter’s universe.
My daughter will be going to college soon—and she’s excited. She knows that if her OCD and anxiety kicks in during the transition that she can use her tools and also request a session with Dr. Wagner to set her back on course. In the past 8 years she has required fewer than five such sessions.
I cannot imagine what my daughter’s life would have looked like had we not met Dr. Wagner. She is our “miracle worker” and believe me, this is a term that I don’t use lightly.
If your child is suffering, don’t waste one precious second. Call Dr. Wagner—she will make all the difference in the world.
~ Mother of 18-year old with OCD (treated at age 9)
Dear Dr. Wagner,
I hope this finds you well! You probably don't remember me, since the last time we met was 10 years ago. My name is Q, and when I was in 6th grade I began seeing you for CBT for OCD. That was a horrible time for me, but you changed my life and there is no way I can ever repay you for that. I have wanted to contact you for years now and thank you for helping me. At the time when I went in to see you, I thought I would never be able to have a functional or successful life, and now I'm a junior at Cornell University studying Human Development. I hope to go on to become a psychologist and help people who are suffering from issues similar to the one I was facing. I just wanted you to know that you truly made a positive impact on my life, and I couldn't be more grateful.
~Young adult with OCD, treated as a child