Psychotherapy for Anxiety
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is identifiable by a difficult and often overwhelming feeling in the body accompanied by ruminative thoughts. It is a natural response to stress and can often be helpful in keeping us safe and alert. However, when anxiety becomes chronic or begins to interfere with daily life, it can be problematic.
Anxiety is a normal response to stress or perceived danger. It is the feeling of unease, apprehension, or fear that we experience in response to certain situations or events. It can also manifest as physical symptoms such as a racing heart, sweating, or shortness of breath. While some anxiety can be helpful in keeping us safe, too much can be debilitating.
Types of Anxiety
There are different types of anxiety disorders that people may experience including:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Social Anxiety Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
All of these disorders can present similar symptoms, but they differ in their causes and treatment.
When to Seek Psychotherapy for Anxiety
Anxiety is experienced by everybody in some form or another. However, there is a significant difference between transient anxiety that may arise as a natural response to a stressful situation, such as giving a speech at school, and chronic, persistent feelings of anxiety that can become debilitating and exhausting for those experiencing it. For those that experience anxious feelings frequently and consistently the cause of the anxiety may feel elusive. There may not be anything that is seemingly causing the anxiety, however, there may be a feeling of impending dread about the future for example. Anxiety does not just live within our minds, but is also experienced within the body, and so those who experience persistent anxiety may notice that they carry a lot of tension in their bodies - such as clenching of the jaw, hands and feet - whilst they may also experience strong bouts of anxiety that come out in the body as panic attacks. Feeling anxious consistently is very exhausting for the mind and body, and can lead to feelings of depression, lack of hope and a deep fear that things may always be this way. What’s more, living with this type of persistent anxiety can negatively impact our relationships, work, health and ability to just exist in the world, all of which then exacerbate the anxiety further, and from here a sticky, difficult cycle can arise.
Approaches to Psychotherapy for Anxiety
Anxiety can be effectively treated through seeing a psychotherapist or psychologist and there are a range of different approaches which might benefit a given individuals. Below is a list of therapeutic models and an explanation of their conceptualisation and approach to anxiety -
CBT - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy views anxiety as the result of maladaptive ways of thinking. A therapist practicing CBT will give you education about anxiety and how it relates to certain ways of thinking and will support you in session to identify and challenge those thoughts.
Psychodynamic Therapy - Short term interpersonal dynamic therapy offers a 16 session model to reduce the symptoms of anxiety. In the first three sessions a detailed history will be taken, focusing on relationships. Following, your psychodynamic therapist will offer you their understanding of how your anxiety relates to your challenges in interpersonal relationships and ways of coping.
ACT - Acceptance and Commitment Therapy supports individuals in identifying their core values and through the practice of mindfulness, helps individuals with anxiety or OCD to accept the presence of distressing thoughts and to reorient to values based action. You will learn the technique of cognitive fusion, whereby you can recognise a thought as a passing moment in time and thereby reduce its power.
Trauma informed psychotherapy - Sometimes anxiety is the result of traumatic experiences we have experienced in the recent or distant past. After a difficult event, the nervous system may be on high alert, scanning the environment for signs of danger. Trauma informed therapy would focus on the development of safety in the therapeutic relationship, gaining resources to cope with daily post-traumatic symptoms and eventually memory processing.
Attachment Repair - Some individuals feel anxiety predominantly about their relationships, which may be understood as 'attachment anxiety'. If this applies, your trained therapist will work with you to understand and modulate the anxiety you feel in close relationships. Learn more about attachment here.
At The Spring Clinic, our integrative clinicians will work with you in the first few meetings to identify which approach will suit you best.
Trained and Qualified Therapists
Respite, healing, and mental wellbeing are possibilities and a birthright.
It is important to remember that the way we are suffering due to our mental health now, does not mean that we will always suffer in these ways. If you find yourself here, you have taken a very important step in your journey to heal and understand yourself. Seeking support from professional Mental Health Practitioners is a wonderful and wise way to move toward healing, Wholeness, joy and peace. Our Practitioners at The Spring Clinic are professionally trained to help guide and support you in healing inner wounds, beliefs and experiences that may be hindering your mental health and experience of life. Through the deep and integrative knowledge our practitioners have of theories and approaches to working with the Self, mind and body, we offer a space and practice that will help support you to move toward your birthright of wellness, peace, connection and joy.
Managing Anxiety Day to Day
There are several effective ways to cope with anxiety, which can be a supportive adjunct to psychological therapy. Here are some strategies:
Mindfulness – Mindfulness is the practice of being present and fully engaged in the present moment. It can help you to tune in to what's happening around you and let go of worries about the past or future.
Exercise – Exercise is a natural stress reliever that can help to reduce anxiety symptoms. It also releases endorphins that lift mood and promote relaxation.
Proper Sleep – Getting enough sleep is crucial for mental and physical health. It can help reduce anxiety by reducing fatigue and improving concentration.
Reducing consumption of caffeine - Coffee is delicious, but it increases the activation of the nervous system and can exacerbate anxiety. Cutting out caffeine can very quickly reduce the intensity of anxiety.
Relaxation Techniques – Techniques such as deep breathing or meditation can help quiet the mind and reduce anxiety.