Treatment & Counseling Services for Anxiety
Anxiety and fear are normal aspects of human experience and, in fact, have been vital to our survival as a species. We are here today because our ancestors fled in terror from an approaching lion, stressed about having enough food for the winter, worried about the health and well-being of their offspring and focused on how they were getting along with others in their clan. The problem is that the constant stimulation, demands and stressors of modern life can put these adaptive traits into overdrive.
All human traits occur on a continuum. In the same way that some people are short and others are tall, while most people are average; people vary in terms of how responsive they are to anxiety, social situations, fear cues and stressors. Those with anxiety disorders seem to have stronger reactions to anxiety, stress and fear.
As a result, people suffering from anxiety disorders experience physical symptoms of stress/panic, attempt to avoid the anxiety provoking situations and can develop a negative view of themselves and their environment.
Anxiety disorders are described in several different categories: social anxiety disorder or social phobia; generalized anxiety disorder; panic disorder, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder and PTSD. While there are several different types of anxiety disorders, research suggests that the underlying mechanisms are similar. People with anxiety disorders experience intense reactions, feel overwhelmed by these emotions and experience a strong urge to avoid things that trigger their anxiety. While avoidance reduces anxiety in the short term, it makes it worse over time.
The first steps in addressing an anxiety disorder are to get a shared understanding of what is happening, when it is happening and how it is impacting your life. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) are effective treatments for anxiety disorders, but they work best within a supportive and validating relationship with your counselor.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
The CBT approach helps people understand how thoughts perpetuate their anxieties and learn new behaviors to approach the things they fear to help them to overcome the anxiety and avoidance.
Acceptance & Commitment Therapy
ACT recognizes the reality that some anxiety is natural and focusing on pursuing goals that are important to you will help you to face feared situations.
Some great workbooks can compliment therapy to help organize and extend our work between sessions such as “The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A Guide to Breaking Free from Anxiety, Phobias, and Worry Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy” and “The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook.”
While it shares similarities and falls under the anxiety disorders diagnostic category, PTSD has some specialized treatments that are different from the other anxiety disorders. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and prolonged exposure (PE) are scientifically supported approaches to PTSD that I utilize.
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