What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is characterized by worry, physiological arousal (e.g., increased heart rate, sweating, muscle tension), and desire to escape or avoid feeling anxious. Anxiety is a normal part of the human experience and everyone feels anxiety at times; however, anxiety can become problematic when it is frequent or overwhelming. Anxiety can lead people to become consumed with "what if" thoughts that focus on possible negative outcomes. In these cases, people often begin to increasingly avoid objects, situations, or tasks that trigger feelings of anxiety. Excessive worry and patterns of avoidance result in a worsening of one's quality of life.
Are you experiencing frequent worry and apprehension? Do you often feel on edge or expect negative things to happen? Do you sometimes avoid things you want or need to do because of discomfort and dread? Maybe you find it difficult to focus, make decisions, or fall asleep? If so, it may seem as though anxiety has hijacked your life.
Anxiety may also be experienced through physical symptoms such as: stomach discomfort or nausea, muscle tension, headaches, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating (not brought on by heat), dizziness, and pain or tightness in the chest.
How Does Therapy Help?
The goal of anxiety therapy is to help people learn to manage anxiety symptoms and to empower individuals to reclaim control over their lives. Since anxiety is a normal part of the human experience, the goal of treatment is not to get rid of anxiety, because this is unrealistic. Instead, the goal is to decrease the frequency, intensity, and impairment of anxiety symptoms.
In order to learn how to better manage anxiety, it is important to learn more about three key aspects of anxiety:
1. Thoughts - the messages we say to ourselves; our worries about what may happen
2. Physical Symptoms - how our body responds when we feel anxious
3. Behaviors - how we choose to react; forms of avoidance
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for anxiety involves strategies for addressing anxious thoughts and physical symptoms as well as ineffective coping behaviors that have become problematic for individuals.
More specifically, I have three main areas of focus in working with clients with anxiety: (1) identifying and then challenging inaccurate and unhelpful thoughts that underlie anxiety, (2) learning relaxation techniques to decrease physiological and emotional symptoms of anxiety, and (3) decreasing avoidance behaviors that maintain and worsen anxiety over time and disrupt an individual's life.
The treatment approach is tailored to each client and will be informed by your specific anxiety triggers and symptoms, as well as your personal goals.
Overview of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders include:
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Specific Phobias
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Although the following are no longer classified as anxiety disorders in the most recent version of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-5), they are still considered closely related conditions (click below for more information):
How Do I Get Started?
During your phone consultation we will discuss what brought you to counseling, your goals, and how I may be able to help you work toward these goals. If we don't feel like I am a good match for you, I will be happy to assist you in finding a therapist who may be a better fit for you.
If you decide to schedule an in-person appointment, I will ask you to complete some paperwork for new clients ahead of your appointment.