Do you suffer from persistent, excessive, and distorted worry?
- Do you feel like anxiety is poisoning your life? Do you have unpredictable or exaggerated reactions to certain triggers?
- Do you struggle to relax the tension in your body?
- Do you lose sleep at night as your mind loops your “to do” list or spins “what if” scenarios? Do you have constant fear that something bad is going to happen?
You are not alone. Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in the United States. Some with anxiety show few outward symptoms, but their minds churn with apprehension and worry. Others suffer from acute anxiety attacks, wherein anxiety literally overwhelms the body. Commonly, those who suffer from anxiety also have to cope with its physical manifestation: backaches, migraines, or digestive troubles. Anxiety is a prolonged state of alarm, usually triggered by some initial fear. Fear can be a healthy, self-preserving response. Anxiety is when fear does not turn off when a perceived danger is unfounded.
While depression tends to dwell in the past, anxiety is a forward-thinking disorder. Anxiety is an anticipatory emotional state. To the anxious mind, the future seems unpredictable, possibly dangerous, and uncontrollable.
Take a moment to ask yourself: what triggers my anxiety?
If you decide to pursue anxiety treatment, these triggers will be at the center of your healing work. It might take more than a moment of digging to uncover all your triggers, as some can be subconscious.
Each trigger usually has an origin story attached to it — often a trauma.
Sometimes these linkages are obvious. A client who had once been struck by lightning now has anxiety during storms. She was once in danger and now when she perceives a similar threat, her brain hijacks her thinking.
In other instances, our anxiety and our anxiety triggers stem from a deep insecurity that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) calls a core fear. Underneath all our bluster, we are struggling with core beliefs that we are unlovable, incapable, or unsafe. These core beliefs can be unconscious.
I will focus anxiety treatment with two modalities:
- Psychotherapy to heal unresolved traumas and core fears that underlie anxiety
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to reprogram the anxious mind with healthy thinking patterns
Most therapy offices provide Step 1), but few follow through with the practical solutions in Step 2). I prioritize results-based interventions. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been shown to be effective for 60-80% of anxiety disorders. This effectiveness increases when CBT is paired with psychotherapy work.
Reducing anxiety is a skill that can be learned like any other.
With a strong therapist-client partnership and outside resources to support our work, we can unlock the key to your healthy thinking. By the second session, we will have set Anxiety Goals and created a treatment plan.
Some part of every session will be used to correct present thinking patterns and workshop real life examples of anxiety distortions from your week. This will result in alleviation of immediate anxiety symptoms.
Every session will also tackle long-term anxiety patterns, and build practical coping skills for outside of the therapy room. Sessions will also include evidence-based exercises to train your brain towards recognizing and defeating negative thinking.
We’ll discuss different strategies that you can use outside of therapy as a plan for the week to address your symptoms. Different strategies may include deep breathing, mindful meditation, guided imagery, grounding, and progressive muscle relaxation. A strategy may not work immediately and that’s where the work of treatment takes place, the consistent, purposeful, dedicated application of strategies to ensure the best possible outcome. Anxiety Treatment is empirically supported to create real change in clients’ lives.
You may still have questions…
How long will it take to see results?
Like most things, the more you put in, the more you get out. Anxiety Treatment can move quickly with a willing and engaged client. This form of anxiety counseling may require a certain amount of work outside of session to achieve maximum efficacy, but the good news is that we will likely have fewer total sessions than traditional psychotherapy. Clients usually need between 8-20 sessions to reach long-lasting mental health goals, but initial improvements often come in the first month.
I can’t imagine my life without anxiety. What if treatment is ineffective?
Anxiety responds very well to treatment. If we make the choice to move away from anxious thinking, and are lucky enough to have skilled guidance along the way, anxiety will be reduced. The science is clear.
It is normal to be afraid to fundamentally change our anxious thinking. Life without significant anxiety might be hard to imagine because it becomes so ingrained in our way of being. We fear we will be less-than or unsafe without our anxiety. Sometimes our anxiety is actually helping us cope with some deeper sadness.
It is also right that a highly anxious person will never be able to fully purge this tendency. During treatment we will also learn to have self-compassion. Our anxious dispositions can be healed to the point of no longer sabotaging our happiness, but moments of crisis and life changes can still trigger a resurgence. Seeking treatment is all about gaining lifelong skills to manage anxiety.
Anxiety help is here.
If you would like to schedule an appointment or discuss your needs, contact me at 630-360-8416. Feel free to reach out by text or phone whenever is convenient. Or you can email me at [email protected].