What can I say? Mark Pfeffer, the director of PARC, has expanded my world of options, formerly limited by fear. He has taught me to embrace the very things I fear and in doing so, has helped me diminish their importance and improve my quality of life. read more
I worked with Mark Pfeffer, PARC Director. Mark was very patient with me and included my family throughout the process, as needed. He gave me the hope that I could achieve recovery regardless of how long I had been suffering or how severe my symptoms were. He provided me his cell phone number for crisis calls and worked out a payment plan option when I had a cash flow problem. read more
As a parent of a teenage son with the panic/anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, I was desperate to find a treatment for our son that would help him regain the normal life that he led before becoming debilitated by this illness. read more
“I’m writing this right after my performance for the Stand Up to Anxiety class. Once again, I have to stop and think about how crazy it is that I’ve come this far? It was pretty much a full house tonight, and I got up in front of an entire room filled with strangers and got some laughs!” read more
“It’s been almost one year since graduation and things are going really well. I’ve completed most of my hierarchy lists, with the outstanding one being travel by airplanes.” read more
“I have suffered from anxiety and panic attacks for the past 12 years. I thought that I was going to live the rest of my life with this condition. I couldn’t travel, drive at night, drink alcohol, and many other things that made my life incomplete.” read more
“Before I became a client at the Panic/Anxiety/Recovery Center, my life was a mess. I had been suffering from depression, panic attacks, and episodes of agoraphobia for about a year.” read more
“With the ‘rat race’ of a schedule most of us lead, we don’t always take the time to tell those who have helped us or lend support at a difficult time in our life. I wanted to take a moment and say “Thank You” for helping me cope with my panic/anxiety that seemed very overwhelming.” read more
“I’ve suffered from social anxiety, panic attacks, and agoraphobia on and off since I was a child. I had seen several psychologists specializing in anxiety disorders and while they helped a little bit, I still hadn’t really learned what anxiety was and why I reacted the way I did to it.” read more
“Understanding and accepting the phobia that I feel driving on the highways has helped me to reduce my anxiety level when I am actually driving. Suddenly, and I don’t know why, I am able to drive again, driving in places where I wouldn’t think I was going to be able to drive again…” read more
“It’s a known fact that the majority of people do not enjoy public speaking. I was beyond that; the thought of being called upon during class made me so uncomfortable. I hated going to school, and loved test days because I would not get called on!” read more
“Prior to participating in the Panic/Anxiety/Recovery Center program, I felt like a helpless, out-of-control basket case. I longed for peace and serenity, yet felt it was way out of my reach. Fortunately, all of that changed. I found peace, serenity, and got my life back.” read more
“I moved from Chicago to Los Angeles this June. I never would have been able to make that decision without your help with the elevator thing. My employer needed someone to temporarily work out of our LA office and I volunteered to go, …” read more
“Just a note to thank you for your care, concern and diligent efforts to empower our son to conquer his anxiety. He’s not totally ‘there’ yet, but with your help he has learned how to help himself…” read more
“After years of surfing the medical community for appropriate treatment for my social anxiety, I consider myself lucky to have seen you and a former client on an ABC TV show. The courage and determination of your client inspired me to give it a shot.” read more
“This summer I was able to take my first vacation in many years. The program not only worked to control my panic attacks, but now I’m doing things I never dreamed I could!” read more
I want to briefly share that I have gained from my experiences with the PARC/Improv Level A and B classes. Public speaking has been a personal challenge of mine for as long as I can remember, and PARC/Improv became a valuable forum to address this challenge.
Probably just as valuable to me was developing relationships with class members who shared my similar challenges. I believe that people can develop a bond through adversity and challenges, whether personal or professional. Additionally, I developed tremendous respect for every class member, because each one was gifted with so much individual talent and fortitude.
Ready for this??!!! In the past few months, I’ve reached a whole new level: I gave a very funny and well-received toast/roast at my best friend’s wedding, I’ve been a teaching assistant in a course here which entails leading a 1.5 hour discussion section with 25 students every week, and best of all, I’ve gone through multiple rounds of interviews at all the schools I’ve applied to for my PhD. I was accepted at Columbia, Yale, Brown, and Johns Hopkins, and have decided to stay at Yale. I have four presentations coming up in the next two months (including one tomorrow) and I feel little to no anxiety about them.
I tear up just looking at that paragraph and remembering where I was. Those things were all at the very top of my hierarchy and now they’re becoming second nature. THANK YOU SO MUCH for everything.
My name is Danny and I have struggled with generalized and social anxiety for as long as I can remember. Some of the earliest memories I have, in fact, are of being anxious. Even as a young kid I was petrified by minor social interactions; ordering food at a restaurant (I’d have a family member order for me), speaking to other kids at school, even at family functions I would avoid interaction as much as possible. As I got older the effect it had on my academic life grew more and more serious, particularly in college. I began skipping classes due to the severe anxiety I felt being in a classroom surrounded by peers. I failed several classes, not due to an inability to grasp the material, but because I was simply too terrified to be involved or show up. My social life suffered equally. read more
While it may be a bit out of the ordinary for you to receive a letter from the mother of a client, I feel compelled to write. Through your facilitation, the work that Danny has done has accomplished what he was never able to before. Danny is now taking “risks” in his life that are ultimately opening many doors for him and providing him with a sense of direction that was not even possible prior to now. His elation after each accomplishment is now overriding his anxiety. I know you know how huge this is. Danny has always been driven and passionate about his endeavors but was bounded by his self-imposed limitations. This is no longer the case. I am so proud of him (what a mom thing to say, :)). So thank you. You must know the impact you have on these people’s lives and consequently, the lives that they touch.”
Mark, here’s the letter I promised awhile back.
I joined Improv for Anxiety because of my paralyzing fear of public speaking or really any situation where I was the center of attention. I could be in a room full of 5 or 50 people and still experience the same level of fear. I was usually ok if I could speak first but if the situation called for me to wait then all bets were off. This anxiety had controlled my life for so long I finally decided I needed to do something about it which led me to Mark and this program. Now that I have gone through levels A and B I can easily say it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Want to know why? read more
I had my first anxiety attack when I was at work. It came out of nowhere. I had the rapid heartbeat, sweating, feeling of unreality, racing thoughts…I thought I was having a heart attack. Not wanting to cause a scene, I told my boss I wasn’t feeling well and left the office. It got worse as I drove home. Scared and not sure what was happening, I went to the emergency room. After numerous checks and tests turned out fine, the doctor told me I had a panic attack. I left feeling unsure of this diagnosis and “…what do I do?” After suffering from additional panic and anxiety attacks, I needed help. I felt that my world was spiraling out of control. I thought I was going crazy because I could not control and/or prevent me from having another episode. “How would I be able to live my life like this?” I needed help. read more
I would like to share my experience with PARC, the Improv for Anxiety program, Mark Pfeffer, Becca Barish and Jake Frelick.
In September of 2013 I decided that I needed help to deal with stage fright. One particular instance where I had an intense bout of stage fright precipitated my decision. I felt that being anxious when speaking in public was holding me back. At the time I was 38 years old. I had similar instances of stage fright when I was in the university in Argentina and here in the States, but at that point in my life I decided that I didn’t want to be a person that hid his problems “under the rug”. read more