February 22, 2022

Anxiety Counseling (What It Is and How it Can Help)

by Psych Times Staff

Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults each year in the United States, making them the most common mental illness. Anxiety disorders can cause a great deal of distress for those living with them, interfering with their daily lives, including school, work, sleep, and relationships.

For those looking to treat their anxiety, there are numerous options available. Anxiety counseling can help people who suffer from these disorders, providing relief for their symptoms and teaching them how to cope.

What is Anxiety Counseling?

Anxiety counseling is a treatment that helps lessen the intensity of debilitating symptoms by teaching coping skills. The goal is for these frustrating symptoms to longer interfere with a person’s ability to excel at and enjoy life.

Not only do anxiety counselors teach techniques for reducing symptoms, but they provide support and encouragement throughout the entire process. Having anxiety can be even more frustrating when loved ones don’t understand, advising you to “just get over it” or that “it’s all in your head.” Anxiety counseling is a place where you can receive validation from a trained professional who gets it.

Understanding Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is a natural response to danger. Anxiety can help you become alert, stay focused, spur you into action, and motivate you to solve problems.

However, there is a point where anxiety can become harmful, undermining your ability to perform well in school or at your job and maintain healthy relationships. Anxiety disorders cause emotional and physical symptoms – such as stomach problems – that interfere with a person’s ability to function in their day-to-day life.

Anxiety counseling can help treat several major types of anxiety disorders, including:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Social phobia (social anxiety disorder)
  • Specific phobias
  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Note that these disorders are not the same as normal feelings of nervousness or anxiousness. These disorders involve excessive fear or anxiety that causes significant distress in one’s life for at least six months.

Getting Help: When to Should Seek Anxiety Counseling

No matter the specific disorder, people with anxiety exhibit behaviors and experience thought processes that follow a similar pattern. It’s not that people with anxiety necessarily experience different feelings, thoughts, or situations than anyone else. Instead, what contributes to their symptoms is how they react when they find their symptoms uncomfortable or unpleasant.

Individuals suffering from anxiety also tend to manage their reactions accordingly, such as by avoiding their triggers. However, avoidance only makes things worse, reinforcing those worries and fears. For example, someone with social anxiety disorder might avoid social situations. However, those social situations become harder to approach over time as that person may become even more fearful.

Anxiety counseling utilizes a variety of approaches to help people observe and address their unhelpful thought patterns. It helps patients find healthy, effective ways to manage their anxiety that do not involve avoidance.

If you are experiencing excessive fear or worry that is causing significant distress in your life, consider seeking anxiety counseling. Anxiety counseling can help you find ways to manage your anxiety more effectively so that it no longer holds you back from important things.

How Does Anxiety Counseling Work?

Anxiety counseling involves working with a therapist to identify and address the causes of your anxiety. It is a highly effective treatment and managing anxiety symptoms to a more fulfilling life.

You might expect to meet with a counselor once or twice monthly when you start anxiety counseling.

Your counselor can help you recognize your triggers, which is fundamental in managing them. Anxiety counselors provide support while helping you learn new ways of thinking about your fears and worries so that they no longer control you or cause as much distress in your life.

There are numerous types of anxiety counseling available to help achieve these goals. Counselors or therapists can help develop tailored treatment plans for each patient. This may involve anxiety counseling, medication, or a combination of the two, depending on what helps best manage your symptoms.

Anxiety Counseling Approaches for Treatment

Anxiety counseling can take many different forms. Some of the most common approaches include exposure therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT):

Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps you identify and accept negative thoughts and behaviors without judgment and teaches you how to change them.

This is the most effective anxiety counseling approach for anxiety because it focuses on the root of your anxiety and teaches you how to think about situations that trigger feelings of anxiety.

CBT is effective for anxiety because it helps you to:

-Identify your thoughts and beliefs about yourself, the world around you, and how you think others see you.

-Challenge the accuracy and usefulness of your thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions.

-Develop coping skills to deal with uncomfortable thoughts and feelings.

Exposure therapy:

Exposure therapy is a helpful approach to anxiety counseling because it forces you to confront your fears safely.

Over time, this anxiety counseling approach helps you become less afraid of your fears and learn how to cope with them.

Exposure therapy is effective for anxiety because it helps you to:

-Target your specific fears and anxieties.

-Confront your fears at a pace that works for you.

-Learn healthy coping skills to deal with your fears.

Anxiety medication:

Medication is something you can talk to your therapist or doctor about if you feel it would help support your progress. Anxiety medication can help control anxiety symptoms by altering brain chemistry. The most commonly prescribed anxiety medication is SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. MAOIs, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, are also helpful – particularly for panic disorder and social phobia.

However, unlike medication, anxiety counseling provides the tools for individuals to manage their anxiety in the present and long run. For this reason, many individuals with anxiety disorders find the most relief with anxiety counseling – whether or not that includes medication.

Finding the right treatment plan can seem like an intimidating process, but it is worth taking the time to find what works best for you. Anxiety counseling can be an extremely effective way to manage your anxiety and live a fuller life.

What are the Benefits of Anxiety Counseling?

Anxiety counseling can provide relief from the symptoms of anxiety disorders and help you learn to cope with your disorder.

Some of the most notable benefits include:

  • Relief from symptoms of anxiety
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Learning how to accept and manage your anxiety
  • Improved quality of life
  • Improved relationships with friends and family
  • An increased sense of self-worth and self-esteem

Anxiety counseling provides a safe space for people to discuss their symptoms and concerns without fear of judgment.

Complementary Techniques and Treatments for Anxiety Counseling

Complementary techniques and treatments can also be tremendously helpful in treating anxiety. These stress and relaxation techniques supplement anxiety counseling and help manage symptoms. Some of the most common complementary treatments include:

Yoga: Yoga is a form of exercise that combines stretching and breathing exercises. It can help you learn how to relax and manage your stress.

Journaling: Journaling is a safe space for expressing one’s thoughts and feelings. Not only can journaling help people understand their thoughts and emotions better, but it can also help them identify unhelpful thought patterns contributing to their stress and anxiety.

Meditation: Meditation involves focusing one’s attention on something, such as a mantra, your breathing, or an object in front of them. Apart from general relaxation, one benefit of cultivating mindfulness through meditation is that it can help you catch ruminating thoughts and end their spiraling.

Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy promotes relaxation and reduces stress through essential oils. You might find that adding certain scents such as lavender or sandalwood to an oil diffuser helps you feel calmer. Certain oils may also help if you have problems falling asleep due to your anxiety.

Healthy diet & lifestyle: A healthy diet and lifestyle can help reduce stress and promote overall health. It may help avoid excessive caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and sugar.

Final Thoughts on Anxiety Counseling

Anxiety counseling is an effective way to work on managing your anxiety symptoms. If you’re interested in seeking anxiety counseling, be sure to talk with your therapist about the different approaches.


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