How does therapy help with anxiety?
People with anxiety tend to react to unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and situations in a more extreme way and may try to manage those reactions by avoiding triggers. Therapy for anxiety will help you to identify your triggers and the root cause of your anxiety by examining your past experiences to determine how they influence your current anxiety. During this type of therapy, we would identify and process these experiences to reduce your current anxiety.
When you are ready, somatic psychotherapy will guide you into your body and you will be asked to notice the sensations of anxiety. Often, when people experience anxiety, they distract themselves and try to avoid the feelings, which often creates more fear around the perception of having anxiety. In a safe environment, allowing space for these unpleasant feelings can begin to diminish the fear associated with them.
Some clients find that when doing this they are able to label the anxiety as a sensation, not necessarily an unpleasant feeling. Additionally, I encourage clients to change their language. For example, not saying quote my unquote anxiety. language has a powerful effect on how we think and feel in a given circumstance. For example, don’t think of a large pink elephant right now.
Along the lines I was discussing above, I find hypnotherapy to be an effective intervention for anxiety. Additionally, Dialectical behavioral therapy may help to manage anxiety as it teaches coping skills that involve building on your strengths, identifying unhelpful thoughts, practicing self-soothing, emotional regulation, mindfulness, and managing post-traumatic stress.
Research has also demonstrated the effectiveness of exposure therapy, in which you are asked to either imagine doing something you fear or to actually approach and do it in real life. This is often done according to a technique known as “systematic desensitization,” in which you start with the least anxiety-provoking action and work your way up from there. Following this step-by-step approach of learning how to induce relaxation, creating a list of feared situations, and working through the list gradually is the heart of exposure therapy. This gradual process of alternating approaching what you fear with relaxation helps to pair the two in your mind and makes it easier the next time you have to go do what you fear.
I enjoy using literature, movies, music in our work together and view this exchange of information as bi-directional. I want to know which literary characters, movie or television characters you relate with, as well as songs you identify with. Additionally, I will provide suggestions for you.