Anxiety treatment program called ‘life-changing’

Nocatee residents offer treatment locally and across Florida


Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States every year, according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America. And experts say these disorders have grown more prevalent since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, a treatment program that has proven to be effective in arresting anxiety has come to the Sunshine State. It’s called TERRAP (an acronym for Territorial Apprehension), and it’s the focus of Anxiety Treatment of Florida, which Nocatee residents Ann and Michael Bloomquist recently opened.

TERRAP was launched in 1975 by Dr. Arthur B. Hardy in Orange County, California. The program runs between 10 and 12 weeks and is presented in steps. Participants are given “homework” at the end of each session, and by the fourth “chapter,” anxiety levels are reduced by at least 40% to 50%, according to Eileen S. Voorhees, a board-certified psychiatric and mental health nurse who has been working in the field for 45 years and is currently training therapists for Anxiety Treatment of Florida.

“This program is life-changing,” Voorhees said.

Ann Bloomquist learned about TERRAP from Voorhees, who had owned a franchise in New Jersey. Voorhees had helped her overcome her own struggle with anxiety, and now Bloomquist said she is excited to offer the program here.

“I know it works,” she said. “I’ve done it myself.”

The program treats anxiety, phobias, agoraphobia, general anxiety disorder, social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress and other stress-related illnesses.

At this time, Anxiety Treatment of Florida is offering TERRAP via Zoom, though group sessions will be conducted at pre-arranged locations. Zoom will allow participants from anywhere in the state to access the program.

Though the Bloomquists are administrators of the Florida program, actual therapy will be conducted by specially trained and licensed counselors who also have their own practices. Anxiety Treatment of Florida has a contract with Psych Ed Connections in Nocatee, so if medication is desired, it can be ordered by a psychiatrist.

Still, participants do not have to be on medication to use TERRAP strategies, though Ann Bloomquist said it does help control symptoms.

Through TERRAP, participants learn life skills that allow them to conquer anxiety.

Voorhees said the program is “very, very structured” and encompasses desensitization, relaxation, mindfulness, cognitive therapy and thinking changes.

“When the program’s over, we have a 95% recovery rate,” she said.

“It teaches us the skills,” said Bloomquist. “If we find ourselves starting to get anxious, we just remind ourselves of the skills that we were taught, and then it just kind of sets the reset button so we don’t sort of spiral into a full-blown anxiety attack.”

Anyone who has experienced an anxiety attack knows how debilitating it is. Voorhees said going through an attack is “hell.”

“The heart starts to pound, the stomach gets tight – you can’t even digest food – your throat feels like it’s closing up, your vision gets blurry, you can’t think straight, you don’t know what to do next,” she said. “It feels like your whole body is out of control.”

Because so many people suffer in silence, it can also affect the whole family.

“Their spouses get angry, because it looks like they’re lazy and they’re not doing anything,” Voorhees said.

Panic attack sufferers can’t drive and may, in fact, not even be able to move about.

These attacks generally happen after a change that causes a stress overload, according to Voorhees.

“It’s an adrenaline reaction, where a ‘fire alarm’ goes off when it doesn’t need to,” she said. “And once that goes off, people don’t know how to turn it off. This program turns it off.”

One area of concern is the psychological effect of COVID-19 on children, many of whom do not want to return to school, in part because they believe a terrible virus awaits them. At the same time, they have been at home for an extended period of time.

“The ones that even are a little bit anxious anyway with their personality have found the comfort of home,” said Voorhees, “which has turned out to be disastrous, because now we have to get them back out there, and they’re not coming back.”

“So many of the parents that I run into say that, please, bring the program, work with the kids,” said Bloomquist.

Bloomquist worked as a special education teacher in the New York area until she had children. She stayed home with them for 25 years, but once they had grown, she needed somewhere to turn her attention and talents.

“I was looking for something special just to help people,” she said. “That’s my calling. And I was given this wonderful opportunity to purchase the TERRAP program for Florida. I’m thrilled, because I know it works if you follow the program, and I’m happy to help the people recover.”

When people contact Anxiety Treatment of Florida, they are paired with licensed therapists who will evaluate them to make sure the program is right for them. If there is a need for testing, that can be done. Once they are cleared for the program, they can participate in groups or meet individually.

To learn more about Anxiety Treatment of Florida or to schedule an appointment, go to or call 904-930-7670.

“If you are suffering from anxiety, and it’s debilitating … definitely learn the skills so you can be successful in getting your life back,” said Bloomquist.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here