Counseling does help in my opinion for anxiety.
I think counseling really helps most people who have panic attacks or anxiety along with a lot of other things. You don’t have to live with anxiety and fear. I think therapy is a good place to start if you can find a therapist you like working with. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is the most common and does a good job of helping. Depending on what you anxiety is about exposure therapy might also help. Therapy is to help you learn to control you anxiety levels and worry and fear.
Based on our many years of experience as anxiety sufferers the most effective way to treat anxiety is with the combination good self-help information and personal coaching/counseling/therapy. This combination produces a much higher rate of success. I really liked group therapy and some therapists don’t offer it, I liked listening to how others were coping and how far they have come.
Treating anxiety disorders with therapy
When it comes to treating anxiety disorders, research shows that therapy is usually the most effective option. Therapy helped me find out what my worries and fears were coming from. Learned how to look at situations in a different way, and develop better problem solving skills. My skills really sucked and I never even thought about how I was looking at things, until it was pointed out to me. Therapy gives you the tools to overcome anxiety and teaches you how to use them.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most widely-used therapy for anxiety disorders. Research has shown it to be effective in the treatment of panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder, among many other conditions.
CBT addresses negative patterns and distortions in the way we look at the world and ourselves. As the name suggests, this involves two main components:
Cognitive therapy examines how negative thoughts contribute to anxiety.
Behavior therapy examines how you behave and react in situations that trigger anxiety.
The basic idea of CBT is that our thoughts—affect the way we feel. In other words, it’s not the situation you’re in that determines how you feel, but your perception of the situation. For example, imagine that you’ve just been invited to a big party. Consider three different ways of thinking about the invitation, and how those thoughts would affect your emotions.
Situation: A friend invites you to a big party
Thought #1: The party sounds like a lot of fun. I love going out and meeting new people!
Emotions: Happy, excited
Thought #2: Parties aren’t my thing. I’d much rather stay in and watch a movie.
Thought #3: I never know what to say or do at parties. I’ll make a fool of myself if I go.
Emotions: Anxious, sad
I was stuck in thought #3, always looking at the negative thoughts. I was fueling my anxiety and fear instead of helping myself. I needed to change the way I thought so I could change the way I felt. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you with that. Do you have beliefs that need changing?
Thought challenging in CBT for anxiety
Thought challenging—also known as cognitive restructuring—is a process in which you challenge the negative thinking patterns that contribute to your anxiety, replacing them with more positive, realistic thoughts. This involves three steps:
- Identifying your negative thoughts. With anxiety disorders, situations are perceived as more dangerous than they really are.
- Challenging your negative thoughts. In the second step, your therapist will teach you how to evaluate your anxiety-provoking thoughts. This involves questioning the evidence for your frightening thoughts, analyzing unhelpful beliefs, and testing out the reality of negative predictions.
- Replacing negative thoughts with realistic thoughts. Once you’ve identified
the irrational predictions and negative distortions in your anxious thoughts, you can replace them with new thoughts that are more accurate and positive.
|Challenging Negative Thoughts|
|Negative thought #1: What if I pass out driving on the freeway?|
|More realistic thought: I’ve never passed out before, so it’s unlikely that I will on the freeway.|
|Negative thought #2: If I pass out, it will be terrible!|
|More realistic thought: I won’t pass out , I never have|
|Negative thought #3: People will think I’m crazy.|
|More realistic thought: People are more likely to be concerned if I’m okay.|
Replacing negative thoughts with more realistic ones is easier said than done. Often, negative thoughts are part of a lifelong pattern of thinking. It takes practice to break the habit. That’s why cognitive behavioral therapy includes practicing on your own at home as well. CBT may also include:
Learning to recognize when you’re anxious and what that feels like in the body
Learning coping skills and relaxation techniques to counteract anxiety and panic
Confronting your fears (either in your imagination or in real life)
Exposure therapy for anxiety
How many of us avoid things that make us anxious? I actually missed my son’s graduation because I hate rooms full of people, so I avoided them at all costs. Pretty sad, but I am different now. In fact, avoiding your fears often makes them stronger.
Exposure therapy, exposes you to the situations or objects you fear. So what I did was go to where there was small group of people and worked my way up. To be honest it did take me awhile for it to work. After many years of avoiding social situations, but it worked and I have even spoken to people in a group about anxiety. The exposure is done in one of two ways: Your therapist may ask you to imagine the scary situation, or you may confront it in real life. Exposure therapy may be used alone, or it may be conducted as part of cognitive behavioral therapy.
Rather than facing your biggest fear right away, which can be traumatizing, exposure therapy usually starts with a situation that’s only mildly threatening and works up from there. This step-by-step approach is called systematic desensitization. Systematic desensitization allows you to gradually challenge your fears, build confidence, and master skills for controlling panic. I was scared to death of flying and I friend of mine who is a captain has a class for people who afraid of flying and this is what he sent me.
Facing a fear of flying
Step 1: Look at photos of planes.
Step 2: Watch a video of a plane in flight.
Step 3: Watch real planes take off.
Step 4: Book a plane ticket.
Step 5: Pack for your flight.
Step 6: Drive to the airport.
Step 7: Check in for your flight.
Step 8: Wait for boarding.
Step 9: Get on the plane.
Step 10: Take the flight.
Systematic desensitization involves three parts:
Learning relaxation skills. First, your therapist will teach you a relaxation technique, such as progressive muscle relaxation or deep breathing. You’ll practice in therapy and on your own at home.
Creating a step-by-step list. Next, you’ll create a list of 10 to 20 scary situations that progress toward your final goal. For example, if your final goal is to overcome your fear of flying, you might start by looking at photos of planes and end with taking an actual flight. Each step should be as specific as possible, with a clear, measurable objective.
Working through the steps. Under the guidance of your therapist, you’ll then begin to work through the list. The goal is to stay in each scary situation until your fears subside. That way, you’ll learn that the feelings won’t hurt you and they do go away.
Complementary therapies for anxiety disorders
As you explore your anxiety disorder in therapy, you may also want to experiment with complementary therapies designed to bring your overall stress levels down and help you achieve emotional balance.
Exercise is a natural stress buster and anxiety reliever. Research shows that as little as 30 minutes of exercise three to five times a week can provide significant anxiety relief. To achieve the maximum benefit, aim for at least an hour of aerobic exercise on most days.
Relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation and progressive muscle relaxation, when practiced regularly, can reduce anxiety and increase feelings of emotional well-being.
Biofeedback uses sensors that measure specific physiological functions—such as heart rate, breathing, and muscle tension—to teach you to recognize your body’s anxiety response and learn how to control it using relaxation techniques.
Hypnosis is sometimes used in combination with CBT for anxiety. While you’re in a state of deep relaxation, the hypnotherapist uses different therapeutic techniques to help you face your fears and look at them in new ways.
Making anxiety therapy work for you
There is no quick fix for anxiety. Overcoming an anxiety disorder takes time and commitment. Therapy involves facing your fears rather than avoiding them. So sometimes you’ll feel worse before you get better. Therefore its important thing is to stick with treatment and follow your therapist’s advice. If you’re feeling discouraged with the pace of recovery, remember that therapy for anxiety is very effective in the long run. You’ll reap the benefits if you see it through.
You can also support your own anxiety therapy by making positive choices. Everything from your activity level to your social life affects anxiety. Set the stage for success by making a conscious decision to promote relaxation, vitality, and a positive mental outlook in your everyday life.
Learn about anxiety. In order to overcome anxiety, it’s important to understand the problem. That’s where education comes in. Education alone won’t cure an anxiety disorder, but it
will help you get the most out of therapy.
Cultivate your connections with other people. Loneliness and isolation set the stage for anxiety. Decrease your vulnerability by reaching out to others. Make it a point to see friends; join a self-help or support group; share your worries and concerns with a trusted loved one.
Adopt healthy lifestyle habits. Physical activity relieves tension and anxiety, so make time for regular exercise. Don’t use alcohol and drugs to cope with your symptoms, and try to avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine, which can make anxiety worse.
Reduce stress in your life. Examine your life for stress, and look for ways to minimize it. Avoid people who make you anxious, say no to extra responsibilities, and make time for fun and relaxation in your daily schedule.
Based on the many years of experience with anxiety, we know that anxiety is NOT a biological disease we inherit or contract. Anxiety is something we cause. We cause ourselves anxiety because we’ve learned to live more fearfully and stress fully than others. And the root of anxiety lie unhealthy beliefs, thoughts, actions, and behaviors: the underlying factors that cause us to produce anxiety. Unless these underlying factors are addressed, they will continue to CAUSE anxiety, and consequently, to cause anxiety conditions to persist or return again and again.
There are many advantages to working with a good therapist (personal coach/counselor/therapist). A therapist can:
- Help you understand your condition, based on your unique situation and circumstances. Because anxiety affects each person differently, a therapist can help you understand your anxiety condition as it pertains to you specifically, and not generally.
- Help you to better understand your symptoms.
- Help you understand why your condition developed.
- Identify the underlying factors associated with your condition (the core issues and causes).
- Help you to understand how they developed and where they came from.
- Formulate a personalized recovery plan specifically for your unique situation and circumstances.
- Provide you with tools and strategies to bring about healthy change.
- Help you to remain on track with your recovery goals.
- Provide ongoing question and answer support.
- Ongoing emotional support and reassurance.
- Spot potential obstacles or barriers to recovery.
- Provide personalized assistance and insight based on their training and personal experience with anxiety.
- Help spouses, family members, and friends understand the validity of an anxiety condition, and offer them practical tips on how they can best help you during your recovery.
- Make sure that all troublesome areas are addressed so that your recovery is complete.
- Support you through the rough spots on the way to lasting recovery.
- Design a medication elimination strategy and suitable tapering regime, if applicable and desired.
- Provide insight on medication elimination expectations.
- Assist and support you through to medication elimination.
- Assist and support you as you begin to live medication-free.
- Mentor you through to lasting recovery.
The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. So the core causes of anxiety are addressed therefore the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior – a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again.
I totally believe that therapy was the answer for me, nothing else had worked, therapy did. Its just my thoughts about it, its your choice to decide.
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Wish you the best