Do you worry a lot?
Find it difficult to go out or try new things?
Do social or performance situations make you break into a sweat?
Although anxiety is often an ordinary and common part of daily life, it can significantly affect a person’s quality of life when it becomes too intense and too frequent. In these situations, it can undermine a person's sense of self, friendships, relationships, and occupational performance.
If your anxiety has gotten out of hand, therapy can provide a much-needed space for you to make sense of your anxiety and it can help you acquire the tools that you need to manage it. In therapy, I have helped many clients tackle their anxiety and I would be glad to help you do the same.
1. What is anxiety?
Anxiety is an experience that can involve your mind, emotions, and/or body.
Anxiety can be general, or it may be triggered in certain situations or contexts. On an emotional level, feelings of anxiety can come from experiences of abandonment, rejection, a loss of self-confidence, or a fear of a loss of control. On a bodily level, anxiety may be felt in your body as tension, sweaty hands, a sick feeling in your stomach, bladder or bowel issues, breathing difficulties or pressure on your chest, or a feeling of being disconnected from your body.
Anxiety is often an all-encompassing and overwhelming experience that can make it hard for you to think clearly and feel grounded. It frequently plays out in relationships as well, where you may find yourself being clingy or seeking constant reassurance, feeling excessively guilty or to blame/ blaming others, or feeling conflicted about dependency, in which case you might find yourself wishing for closeness but pushing others away. When anxiety manifests in this way, it can be really difficult for the relationship - be it with partners, friends, family, and/or colleagues. Learning how to manage anxiety and get your needs met more effectively is then so important both for your personal well-being and the connections that you create with others.
2. What are the different types of anxiety?
From a diagnostic perspective, anxiety is categorised into general anxiety, separation anxiety, phobias (including social/ performance anxiety), panic attacks, and agoraphobia (fear of going outside of the home alone/on public transportation/ being in enclosed or open spaces). Although obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is not classified as an anxiety disorder, individuals with OCD commonly experience anxiety as well.
Although a diagnosis can be upsetting, I have found that many clients find receiving a diagnosis of anxiety somewhat relieving, as it helps them finally make sense of their symptoms and what they are experiencing. It also opens up avenues for thinking about treatment. If you are concerned that you may be suffering from anxiety, I strongly encourage you to discuss this with a doctor or psychologist, so that you can begin the process of finding assistance and support.
3. Do I need to take medication for my anxiety?
Treatment for anxiety may rely solely on psychotherapy, or it may include pharmacotherapy (medication) as well.
In therapy, we will assess the cause, type, and severity of your anxiety. Together we will explore the treatment plan that is best suited to you. Where necessary, I will assist you with finding a psychiatrist to further explore the possibility of taking medication in conjunction with therapy.
4. Which therapeutic approach should I seek to treat my anxiety?
Psychodynamic therapy, Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) are three approaches that are commonly used for the treatment of anxiety. The decision of which approach to use needs to take into account the client's capacity for psychodynamic therapy or CBT/ ACT, the client's psychological development and processes, relevant information about the client's history, the cause of the anxiety, the meaning of the symptoms for the particular client, and the prognosis.
As a therapist, I look at each client holistically when developing a treatment plan. I also share with clients my thoughts about why I think one therapeutic approach may be beneficial over another for the particular issues being presented. I then work together with my clients to decide on a way forward, ensuring alignment between myself and the client, the goals for the therapy, and the therapeutic approach.
You are most welcome to contact me if you would like help finding the therapeutic approach that is right for you.