A Parent’s Story

“I was filled with such hope after that conversation.”

“I spoke to a friend of mine who’s whose child had gone through Anxiety Institute and raved about it. Based on my friend’s recommendation, I called Dan Villiers. The director of the program picked up the phone personally and I wasn’t put on hold. For 30 minutes, we just spoke, and he was finishing my sentences, literally finishing my sentences like he had known my daughter her entire life. And I just remember thinking that I was filled with such hope after that conversation. I knew this place was different based on this one conversation. I told my husband if this program is anything like this man, it’s going be a very special, different experience. And it was.

“...our daughter felt safe.”

We walked into the office and Devin welcomed us to Anxiety Institute; she stood up from behind her desk, came over, gave us a huge greeting, and introduced us to her adorable dog. I can’t explain the feeling. It was something so simple, but so human.

We’ve been through five, six, seven therapists and our daughter always felt afraid. She never felt safe.

When Dan came to our home; he was so warm that our daughter felt safe. We all spoke as a family. And then Dan asked if he could speak to our daughter alone. So, we sat on the other side of the wall and listened. And then Dan made what we thought was the cardinal mistake and said to our daughter that it’s up to you. If you don’t want to come to Anxiety Institute, you don’t have to. And we looked at each other and we said what is he doing? There is no way she’s going to do this. And we held our breath and she said I’d like to try. I’m in. And that for us was the beginning of the game changing.

All of a sudden, our daughter connecting and saying this person understands me and maybe this person can help me.

And that was when I knew I was in a special place. I had never experienced anything like that. A simple act of a smile on your face and a welcome and it put us both at ease. After the first day when she walked out of Anxiety Institute, I was waiting for her in the car, kind of expecting her to say it was “OK, but I’m not going back”. And she walked to the car, I said “How’d it go?” She said, it was really great. I asked do you want to come back tomorrow? And she said “yes”. I had been waiting for those words for a better part of a decade. It was remarkable. And it filled me with hope; I had not had hope in a very long time.

“This simple kindness means so much.”

We walked into the office and Devin welcomed us to Anxiety Institute; she stood up from behind her desk, came over, gave us a huge greeting, and introduced us to her adorable dog. I can’t explain the feeling. It was something so simple, but so human.

This simple kindness means so much. You’re terrified for your child and you’ve been looking for solutions for so long, and you’re not sure if you’ll ever be able to find a program that works. And when you’re greeted with kindness and you’re greeted with a smile, it is so important. It really does matter. It put me at ease. It put our child at ease. As we walked down the hallway, therapists come out of their offices and said “You must be xxxxx. We’re excited to have you.” They knew her name, knew to expect her. They gave her such a warm greeting and I could see it wasn’t a clinical environment. You didn’t feel like a number. You felt like a human. A human being. And it was as simple as a smile and a welcome.

And that was when I knew I was in a special place. I had never experienced anything like that. A simple act of a smile on your face and a welcome and it put us both at ease. After the first day when she walked out of Anxiety Institute, I was waiting for her in the car, kind of expecting her to say it was “OK, but I’m not going back”. And she walked to the car, I said “How’d it go?” She said, it was really great. I asked do you want to come back tomorrow? And she said “yes”. I had been waiting for those words for a better part of a decade. It was remarkable. And it filled me with hope; I had not had hope in a very long time.

“It was a subtle change at the beginning...”

It was subtle change at the beginning. We noticed her interacting more with our other children, asking questions like how was your day? Little simple things. It was great for us to see that. More important, I think other than just the basic day to day conversations, she was less disruptive. Family dinner became a much more enjoyable time, laughing and talking about our day. It’s funny, it doesn’t sound like much, but in a family that’s been suffering with this anxiety to a family that just seems normal, it was a miracle. It was really wonderful.

To any family considering Anxiety Institute, all I can say is talk to Dan, talk to Linda, talk to anybody associated with Anxiety Institute and your fears will be allayed. Just one conversation because I think everybody here shares the same philosophy and is so warm, kind and welcoming”. – LC