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The Panic Pod

Author: Joshua Fletcher

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Joshua is the author of best-selling books on anxiety, a previous sufferer and a qualified psychotherapist. Co-hosted by Canadian singer, producer, and amateur linguist Ella Jean, The Panic Pod is a discussion-based podcast offering bite-sized practical advice on managing anxiety. It is also an opportunity to illuminate what medical and academic spheres know about anxiety to discuss it in a way that you can take to the pub.

Joshua is a fully qualified Psychotherapist and runs a private counselling practice based in Manchester called The Panic Room.

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55 Episodes
Shaun Flores is an OCD advocate, public speaker, former model and influencer, aiming to have the right influence on the world. focusing on mental health, well-being, and lifestyle. He is also a public speaker with two TEDx Talks,  TEDx 2022 & TEDx 2018. A third TEDx Talk remains in his periphery to help raise awareness of OCD, and in turn, raise funds for a mental illness that remains severely underfunded and under-researched. He is determined to be the worst thing to ever happen to OCD. He also is a volunteer advocate for Orchard OCD, the only UK-based charity that is researching faster and better treatment for those with OCD. @theshaunflores/ Twitter @theshaunflores/Instagram Flores Shaun | Facebook "He who has a why can endure any suffering."
In December 2016, 36 year-old Chester resident Sara Jane Harvey started producing educational, yet entertaining videos about what it's like to be autistic. She is a proud parent to her eleven year-old son, who is also autistic. With lively interviews, video essays, weekly vlogs and live streams; Agony Autie aims to share and foster autistic pride and culture, raising not just awareness but true understanding of autism, whilst advocating for autistic people's rights and identity. Sara holds a Media & Culture honors degree and was Sabbatical Women's & Diversity Officer at Lancaster University. A self-employed photographer for many years with noted creative projects like Admiring Autism. Her achievements include speaking at the Crown Prosecution Service, Civil Service, The Autism Shows & with leading recruiters to discuss autistic inclusion in the workplace Current projects include working with • Nuffield Health to bring Neurodivergent awareness to the gym •Panel speaker for the disability Exposition in 2023 •appearing at the Peoples History Museum exhibition on Disability Activism
Summer is here and it's the time of year when many people and families are heading of on their annual vacation. For those struggling with disordered anxiety, what 'should' be a nice relaxing time away with loved ones can feel like a panic-stricken week full of challenges. This topic has been requested by my audience and so this week, I'm joined by one of my favorites, Drew Linsalata. We discuss the various struggles anxiety sufferers face when going on holiday, our own experiences with holiday anxiety, and some practical advice for managing those trips away. Enjoy this week's episode!
Today, you have the pleasure of listening to my northern accent for 30 minutes. There is no special guest this week but I am covering an incredibly important topic. Many anxiety sufferers also experience depression. But what I want to bring to your attention today is the difference between experiencing depression and having a fear of depression. As anxiety sufferers, our minds are skilled at ruminating and stewing over those 'what if' thoughts. Depression often becomes a source of worry and then only goes on to contribute to the anxiety we are already trying to manage. Listen in on today's episode to help distinguish between the two and approach depression from a different perspective, allowing depression and anxiety to feel more manageable.
Talking about poo, is taboo. Yet, it is very common for anxiety sufferers to experience symptoms of IBS. Today we are joined by Dr Sula Windgassen as we talk about all things irritable bowel syndrome. We cover everything from the basics of IBS, how it is interlinked with anxiety, and how to identify symptoms. Although it can often be an embarrassing topic for many, it is one that needs to be addressed. Without further knowledge and understanding of how our anxiety may affect our stomach and bowels, it may only contribute to greater stress and panic. Dr Sula Windgassen's background and mission: I am a Health Psychologist, Chartered Psychologist, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and EMDR Therapist. I am accredited by the Health & Care Professional Council (HCPC), British Psychological Society (BPS) and the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy (BABCP). I am also a mindfulness practitioner, with certificates from Bangor University & Breathworks. ​ My specialism is using evidence-based psychological approaches for people with persistent physical symptoms and chronic illnesses. My work with clients can focus on the improvement of symptoms such as pain, fatigue, bowel symptoms and urinary urgency, in addition to improved overall wellbeing. You can find Dr Sula on Instagram @the_health_psychologist_ Enjoy!
OCD is often misunderstood and because of this, many feel a great deal of shame surrounding their obsessions and compulsions. So, I am pleased to have qualified OCD specialist, Jenna Overbaugh on The Panic Pod today to discuss the ins and outs of OCD. We're covering all ground in this introductory episode to OCD: What is OCD? What are compulsions? What are intrusive thoughts? What are the lesser-known (but still highly common) OCD subtypes? Jenna has battled with her own anxiety throughout her life and so, like myself, Jenna not only has the expertise to support those in need but she also has the experience to understand them on a personal level. Jenna's experience with treating OCD: "I've been a licensed therapist since 2014, with many years of experience at an OCD residential unit at Rogers Memorial Hospital where I saw some of the most debilitating cases of OCD. I learned about Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy, the most effective form of OCD treatment, in college and decided to focus on ERP in both undergrad and grad school. It’s been my intent to help people with OCD get through their challenges, so I’m happy that I’m able to show you how to manage OCD on your own with confidence." You can find Jenna online at the popular Instagram page @treatmyocd. Jenna is also one of the many qualified OCD therapists working with the team at Enjoy!
Joining me today on The Panic Pod is special guest, Kimberley Quinlan. I do not consider myself an expert on eating disorders so it is a privilege to have Kim on the show today who is not only an expert in her field but has also lived with and overcome her own battle with an eating disorder. Not only does Kim help us identify the symptoms of eating disorders, but she also busts some common myths that keep people from going undiagnosed and shares her own personal story. I hope you enjoy this insightful episode. You can find Kim on Instagram through her popular OCD and Anxiety account @youranxietytoolkit. You can also find her online via her personal practice website - or check out The CBT School where she has a plethora of courses available to help you in your own ocd/anxiety recovery - Enjoy!
Mindfulness is a hot topic at the moment, but is there a 'right' way to do it? According to our special guest today, Dr Leah Katz - yes, there is! Today we discuss the difference between formal and informal mindfulness and alternative approaches to focusing on the breath, which can often increase anxiety and panic for anxiety sufferers. Dr. Katz is a am a clinical psychologist practicing in Portland, Oregon. Originally from New York, Leah completed her doctorate training at Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. She currently works in a group practice where she specializes in working with teenage girls and women, with a focus on treating anxiety and depression. Dr Katz utilizes a hybrid of cognitive behavioral, ACT, and mindfulness techniques in her therapy work. Her new book 'Gutsy' is now available and offers practical mindfulness practices for every day bravery. Enjoy!
"We don't have to be in danger to feel afraid" - Dr. Dave Carbonell. We have a very exciting episode for you today on The Panic Pod, as I am joined by someone I hold in very high regard, Dr. Dave Carbonell. Dr. Dave and I cover two topics in this episode - rumination and the fear of going crazy. Dr. Carbonell offers some incredible insights that will resonate and benefit so many of my listeners. We touch on the truth behind anxiety, which is that we aren't often afraid of the trigger itself, we are actually afraid that our response to the trigger will be out of control and this is what truly scares us. Doctor Carbonell is a Clinical Psychologist who specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders as a therapist, author, and teacher. He offers exposure based treatment of fears and phobias in Chicago; is the author of four anxiety self help books; and teaches workshops for therapists who want to learn more about the treatment of anxiety disorders He is the author of four self-help books:  Panic Attacks Workbook (2004) and Fear of Flying Workbook (2017) are both published by Ulysses Press. The Worry Trick (2016) and Outsmart Your Anxious Brain (2020) are both published by New Harbinger. You can find out more about him on his website - Enjoy!
Language and Goals

Language and Goals


The language we use in anxious recovery is so important and yet it is one of the things I see clients not giving the attention it requires. The language you use to describe yourself in anxiety, or yourself during recovery, is so crucial to your progress because the brain is always listening. I often need to gently remind my clients to look at how they are speaking to themselves and ask them to reframe their words in a more positive and helpful way. One of the main pillars of my teaching is wilful tolerance. Recovery is the wilful tolerance of anxiety, and it's a skill that we must practice. If we constantly criticize the inevitable blips in the road, if we dismiss the small victories, we aren't giving ourselves the best possible support we can give. And so the language we use around our recovery is so important. And that is what this episode is dedicated to today. Please enjoy!
Dental anxiety is a big topic of conversation among The Panic Pod and School of Anxiety community, and for understandable reasons. Today on the Panic Pod we are joined by guest expert, Dr Niall Neeson a.k.a The Calming Dentist. Niall has a wonderfully empathetic approach to supporting those of us with dental anxiety to navigate our experiences in the dentist's chair. Niall offers up some great tips and ways of communicating with your dentist in order to have the most comfortable experience possible. We discuss why dental anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of and that open communication between you and your dentist is the best way to ensure a calming experience. Your dentist wants this for you. You can find Niall on Instagram @thecalmingdentist. Enjoy this much needed conversation, we hope it makes your next trip to the dentist that much easier.
This week, we are joined by Dr Henrik Nordahl and Dr Lora Capobianco. Both guests today are experts in the field of metacognitive therapy. We often discuss a range of different modalities and treatments on the Panic Pod, yet metacognitive therapy is still a lesser-known form of therapy (especially in the UK). Metacognitive therapy (MCT) is a psychotherapy focused on modifying metacognitive beliefs that perpetuate states of worry, rumination, and attention fixation. In today's episode, we discuss what metacognitive therapy is, why it's useful and how it differs from other popular anxiety treatments such as CBT. If you have tried other popular modalities without success, you might find this episode enlightening. Please enjoy! If you have any questions, you can contact us here:
Is It Trauma?

Is It Trauma?


Today we welcome a special guest, Seerut K. Chawla onto the podcast. Seerut is a fellow psychotherapist and self-confessed Lord of the Rings nerd. She has amassed a following of over 235,000 on Instagram for her straight-talking and IG-therapy busting content. Seerut works using an integrative model (which means incorporating different therapeutic styles) depending on the client and the circumstances. Her main modality is psychodynamic psychotherapy which is derivative of the psychoanalytic tradition. In this episode, we take a deep dive into the modern-day 'trauma trend' that has taken social media by storm. Unfortunately, the meaning of the word trauma is quickly becoming a diluted term and is often misused.  This is one of the most important discussions we have had on The Panic Pod. We explore what genuine trauma actually is, and precisely what it is not. We discuss the misuse of the trauma label in modern-day society and social media, and the consequences of the trauma trend. It may appear like a controversial conversation that we have today that very much goes against most of the content and advice we see across the internet at the moment, but this discussion is more necessary and relevant than ever. Please enjoy.
Today on the Panic Pod, Josh is joined by counsellor, Louise Tyler to talk about anxiety and sleep. It comes as no surprise that many of us who suffer from anxiety, also struggle with sleep. And in true anxiety style, before we know it we are not only having difficulty sleeping because of the original source of stress but because we are now ruminating on our lack of sleep. It's a tough cycle to break and a loop that is easily strengthened by the belief that a lack of sleep is dangerous and harmful to our health. But in this episode, Josh and Louise discuss an alternative perspective that is more helpful in allowing us to live happy and healthy lives regardless of the amount of sleep we manage each night. If you've ever heard experts out there hammering home the notion that a lack of sleep is the absolute worst thing imaginable where your health is concerned, this episode is for you. Advice like this may come from a well-intended place but, for anxiety sufferers in particular, it only adds pressure and panic to our nighttime routine - which ultimately results in less sleep and heightened stress and anxiety. We offer to you a fresh perspective and a different approach that will relieve the angst and pressure surrounding sleep so you can feel perfectly capable of functioning regardless of how many hours you get each night.
Joining Josh on the podcast today is Zohara Nguyen, one of the very first students to sign up to Josh's popular course - Stop Fearing Fear.  In today's episode, Zohara takes us through her own personal struggles with anxiety, what motivated her to join the program, and the incredible progress she has made in her anxiety recovery since completing the course. In this in-depth and delightful discussion, Zohara explains how her fear of panic was impacting her life. She explains how she has been able to implement the tools from the program to make huge positive changes in her life and make outstanding progress in her anxiety recovery journey. Zohara is a great example of how it is possible for all of us to live a life that is in our control. If you would like to join the program you can sign up here: If you have any questions, pop us an email at
**CORRECTION: The biggest killer of men under 50 is suicide and depression** Today, Josh is joined by one of his all-time favourite people, Drew Linsalata. Fearing emotions is the topic discussed in today's episode. One that may not fit so cleanly into the category of anxiety or panic but, during their time helping clients manage their anxiety disorders, both Josh and Drew have noticed an overlapping theme that's worth a mention. And that theme is the fear of our emotions. Or perhaps we should say, fearing emotions that we feel we 'shouldn't' be feeling. Being able to express and feel our emotions freely and without judgement is a crucial part of the anxiety recovery process and of course, life! Unfortunately, social conditioning has taught us that certain emotions are to be feared. We are taught that negative emotions are inherently 'bad' and 'unhelpful' which becomes an unhelpful perspective in and of itself. When we believe these things to be true, it's understandable that we may fear our emotions and wonder what they might mean about us. Today Josh and Drew debunk some myths and explain why we might fear our emotions, how that impacts our lives and what it means to express ourselves without judgement. If you enjoyed listening to The Panic Pod, please do leave a review and let us know your thoughts on Instagram @thepanicpod or by emailing us at
Driving is a responsibility that should be taken seriously, but what happens when the heightened sense of alertness for driving becomes a tense white-knuckle ride while battling one's own fear? In this episode, Josh and Ella discuss driving anxiety in the context of both post-traumatic incident driving and generalised anxiety disorder (i.e the fear of having a panic attack while driving). When was the last time you heard of someone losing control driving while having a panic attack? Although the fear of this is common, in reality the chances of it happening are extremely low compared to those who get into accidents related to factors like increased speed, impairment from drugs/alcohol, or from fatigue. Getting back behind the wheel after a long time away can be unnerving, but using graded exposure and a good helping of self-compassion, it is possible to overcome the irrational anxious feelings around driving. Do you enjoy listening to The Panic Pod? Let us know by emailing, or by interacting with us on Facebook and Instagram as @thepanicpod.
Root causes of anxiety can be traumatic events that cause us to change our behaviour in response to triggers. A root cause may also be something very minor but calcified over time to seem much worse than the first “event” that set things off. However, the idea that anxiety always has a narrative such as this is overused, and doesn’t help people who just want to untangle and understand their anxiety disorder. Sometimes anxiety does have a root cause, but when it doesn’t – which Josh says is the vast majority of the time – the “root cause” narrative doesn’t actually help a clients’ progress. Using the analogy of a house fire as a panic episode, josh says “When a fire brigade is called, their aim is to put out a fire, and then maybe investigate how the fire started, but definitely not the other way around.” Do you enjoy listening to The Panic Pod? Let us know by emailing, or by interacting with us on Facebook and Instagram as @thepanicpod.
This episode is funny and empowering. Some of the subject matter can be shocking for people with emetophobia, but ultimately the goal is graduation from exposure, as Kimberley will explain. Emetophobia is a clinical term which describes an extreme fear around vomit or nausea. As Kimberley says, “nobody likes to vomit,” but this phobic behaviour can cause anxiety in people's lives which can present different behaviours. It can even stop someone from doing things they love for fear it might make them vomit or be around people who vomit. Even if this isn’t something you think you are affected by, have a listen to this episode and you might learn something new about anxiety through this interview with Kimberley Quinn. And check out her podcast! Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast  You can find her on instagram as @kimberleyquinlan Don’t forget to subscribe, and if you’re a regular listener, we thank you for considering leaving us a review! Or just tell us what you think on social media. We’re @thepanicpod on Instagram and Facebook.
In this episode Josh asks the question "where is your attention at?" and talks about the importance of attention with special guest, Drew Linsalata of The Anxious Truth. They draw upon some great analogies to help you understand why attention is important and what you can do with it when you're anxious and also when you're not!
Comments (3)

Elizabeth A Even

Possible to upload again in chronological order?

Nov 29th

Lisa Mogs

Really enjoying these podcasts. Great content and thank you both for doing these,

Apr 11th

Tee Cleere

would love to hear about agoraphobia.. especially how a person with a chronic health condition can overcome agoraphoboa..x

Jun 26th
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