PESI live seminar update: Due to concerns with COVID-19, all seminars have moved online. Click here for Online Learning Options.

Seminar Detail

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

Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

This event is not currently available for purchase.

For more information: Call (800) 844-8260
Course Description:

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.

Attend this unique and engaging seminar 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 affects 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”
Sign up today!

  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.

Neurobiology: The 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
  • Case Managers
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Occupational Therapist Assistants
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Other Mental Health Professionals


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.
Credits listed below are for full attendance at the live event only. After attendance has been verified, pre-registered attendees will receive an email from PESI Customer Service with the subject line, “Evaluation and Certificate” within one week. This email will contain a link to complete the seminar evaluation and allow attendees to print, email or download a certificate of completion if in full attendance. For those in partial attendance (arrived late or left early), a letter of attendance is available through that link and an adjusted certificate of completion reflecting partial credit will be issued within 30 days (if your board allows). Please see “live seminar schedule” for full attendance start and end times. NOTE: Boards do not allow credit for breaks or lunch.

If your profession is not listed, please contact your licensing board to determine your continuing education requirements and check for reciprocal approval. For other credit inquiries not specified below, or questions on home study credit availability, please contact or 800-844-8260 before the event.

Materials that are included in this course may include interventions and modalities that are beyond the authorized practice of mental health professionals. As a licensed professional, you are responsible for reviewing the scope of practice, including activities that are defined in law as beyond the boundaries of practice in accordance with and in compliance with your professions standards.

The planning committee and staff who controlled the content of this activity have no relevant financial relationships to disclose. For speaker disclosures, please see speaker bios.

PESI, Inc. offers continuing education programs and products under the brand names PESI, PESI Healthcare, PESI Rehab and Psychotherapy Networker.

Addiction Counselors
This course has been approved by PESI, Inc., as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for 6.0 CE in the Counseling Services skill group. NAADAC Provider #77553. PESI, Inc. is responsible for all aspects of their programming. Full attendance is required; no partial credit will be awarded for partial attendance.

This intermediate activity consists of 6.25 clock hours of continuing education instruction. Credit requirements and approvals vary per state board regulations. Please save the course outline, the certificate of completion you receive from the activity and contact your state board or organization to determine specific filing requirements.

Missouri Counselors: This intermediate level activity consists of 6.25 clock hours of continuing education instruction. Credit requirements and approvals vary per state board regulations. Please contact your licensing board to determine if they accept programs or providers approved by other national or state licensing boards. A certificate of attendance will be awarded at the end of the program to participants who are in full attendance and who complete the program evaluation.

Marriage & Family Therapists
This activity consists of 380 minutes of continuing education instruction. Credit requirements and approvals vary per state board regulations. You should save this course outline, the certificate of completion you receive from the activity and contact your state board or organization to determine specific filing requirements.

Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and Clinical Nurse Specialists
American Nurses Credentialing Center Logo
PESI, Inc. is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. Nurses in full attendance will earn 6.3 contact hours. Partial contact hours will be awarded for partial attendance.

Psychologists & Psychiatrists

PESI, Inc. is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. PESI, Inc. designates this live activity for a maximum of 6.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The following state psychologist boards recognize activities sponsored by PESI, Inc. as an approved ACCME provider: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wisconsin. This activity consists of 6.0 clock hours of continuing education instruction. Certificates of attendance will be issued for you to submit to your state licensing board to recognize for continuing education credit.

Kansas Psychologists: CE credit is available. This live activity consists of 6.25 hours of continuing education instruction and is designed to meet the requirements of the Kansas Board of Psychology (Sec.102-1-15). PESI is a nationally accredited provider of continuing education. Please retain the activity advertisement and certificate of attendance for your CE records.

Social Workers
PESI, Inc., #1062, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. PESI, Inc. maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: January 27, 2020 - January 27, 2023. Social Workers completing this course receive 6.25 Clinical Practice continuing education credits. Course Level: Intermediate. Full attendance is required; no partial credits will be offered for partial attendance. A certificate of attendance will be awarded at the end of the program to social workers who complete the program evaluation.

Kansas Social Workers: PESI, Inc. is an approved provider with the Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board. Provider #14-006. This course has been approved for 6.0 continuing education hours.

Other Professions
This activity qualifies for 380 minutes of instructional content as required by many national, state and local licensing boards and professional organizations. Save your course outline and certificate of completion, and contact your own board or organization for specific requirements.

Credit Card Required for online registration | Contact us to redeem Gift Certificates