Do you feel like anxiety is ruling your life? Are you struggling to cope with feelings of worry, fear, or panic? Anxiety can be incredibly distressing and debilitating. If you’re tired of trying to deal with these burdens alone, it may be time to seek help from a professional.
What is an Anxiety Therapist?
An anxiety therapist is a person who specializes in treating anxiety disorders. Whether you have social phobia, panic disorder, or OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) – to name a few – an anxiety therapist can help. The overall goal of anxiety therapy is to help you manage your symptoms and live a more fulfilling life.
While you might not find the best anxiety therapist for you the first time around, the important part is that you start somewhere. The options and steps you can take to get there are straightforward, and we’re here to outline each one for you.
If you’re ready to find an anxiety therapist near you (or online), this can be your road map. We’ll also provide insight on how to tell if your therapy experience is working!
How Do I Find an Anxiety Therapist?
The first step in therapy is finding a therapist. There are many different types of therapists who each have their techniques and specialties. You want to make sure to ask questions before choosing one that’s right for you.
Some things you may decide to keep in mind when looking for a therapist:
-Do they specialize in Anxiety Disorders? Do they have experience with my anxiety disorder?
-Are they licensed and insured? How much experience do they have?
-Does their approach to treatment align with my needs and goals? (i.e., What types of therapy do they practice? Can they help me obtain medication if I need it?)
Here are a few tips and options to explore to find a great therapist for you.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
One first step in finding an anxiety therapist is to contact your insurance provider. Many insurance companies offer a list of approved mental health providers covered under your plan. This can help you begin narrowing down your search, as it will already exclude therapists who are not covered by your policy.
Use Anxiety Therapist Directories
There are many online directories of mental health providers, including:
-Anxiety.org: Anxiety Therapist Directory
-Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Find a Therapist Directory
-American Psychological Association: Psychologist Locator
Using these can be helpful because they allow you to filter results by your needs. This might include criteria such as specialty (anxiety), location, and the type of treatment offered (i.e., CBT). You can also see reviews from past clients.
These directories can be a great place to start your search, but remember that not all mental health providers will be listed! You may want to think about using other resources if you cannot find everything you need or want to know.
Ask Friends and Family
If you don’t want to contact your insurance company or search online directories, another option is to ask friends and family for referrals. Firsthand recommendations are a great way to find local therapists specializing in anxiety disorders. However, it’s important to remember that what works for one person may not work for you – even if you share similarities or get along well.
Contact a Local Clinic or Hospital
If you don’t have insurance, live in a rural area, or have no friends or family to ask for referrals, one great option is contacting a local clinic or hospital. These institutions often offer mental health services that are low-cost or even free.
Research Therapists Near You
Spend some time online digging through the bios of mental health experts in your area. If you’re curious to learn more about the treatments they prefer and specialize in and what their style is like, consider sending them an email. Another thing to consider asking is whether they offer a free introductory session for new clients!
What to Expect from Your Anxiety Therapist
Anxiety therapists use cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, and mindfulness-based interventions to help you manage your anxiety. Anxiety therapy is typically done one-on-one with the therapist in an office setting over several weeks to months. The timeline largely depends on how severe your anxiety is and how quickly you progress. That said, there’s no rush or timeline to meet – make the most of the experience, taking it one day at a time.
Along the way, try to be open and honest with your therapist about how you’re feeling. They will likely ask many questions to get to know you better and understand your symptoms.
Together, you and your anxiety therapist will create a treatment plan that works best for you. Anxiety therapy can entail challenging work, but it’s worth the effort!
How Can I Determine if an Anxiety Therapist is Right for Me?
One vital aspect of choosing an anxiety therapist is feeling comfortable with them. This means that you should feel safe and respected and that they are someone who will be supportive of your goals.
If you don’t feel like the therapist is a good fit for you, it’s important to be honest, and tell them.
Mental health help isn’t one-size-fits-all, and switching therapists as needed is nothing to feel guilty about. If you’ve seen your anxiety therapist at least a few times and have doubts about your progress, talk to them about it! They can help you figure out what steps to take next.
How Can I Tell if Therapy is Working?
Therapy can be an invaluable tool for most people when managing anxiety, but it’s important to make sure that it’s working for you. A good way to tell is if your symptoms improve or you feel more comfortable in certain situations – such as social ones.
A few signs that you are making good progress with your anxiety therapist include:
- You feel like you’re finally able to understand yourself and your thoughts better
- You feel more connected to other people, both in your personal life and in therapy sessions
- Your symptoms have started to improve or go away altogether
- You feel like you’ve gained some tools that you can use to manage your anxiety in the future
- You feel more present rather than lost in your thoughts
Don’t be afraid to trust yourself enough to determine whether you notice any differences in your mood, thoughts, or behaviors. You might not realize these shifts – especially the subtle ones – as they occur. For this reason, it’s important to give therapy some time to work.
It’s also important to remember that there is no single “right” way to deal with anxiety. Don’t be afraid to try different things, exploring what works best for you.
Shop Around if You Need To
If you’re not sure if therapy is working for you, talk to your anxiety therapist about it. They should help you figure out what steps to take next.
Know that this can be an uncomfortable topic to discuss no matter what – even if it’s not personal toward your anxiety therapist. Who knows, you may stick with your first anxiety therapist for a while and make excellent progress. You might get to the point where you feel ready to explore a new approach or techniques that your current anxiety therapist has minimal training in.
Whatever the reason, remember that your anxiety therapist wants to help you, even if that ultimately doesn’t involve them. They may have other recommendations for therapists or resources that can help you.
Final Thoughts Finding the Anxiety Therapist You Need
The most important thing is finding a therapist you feel comfortable with and who will support your goals. Anxiety therapy can be challenging and time-consuming – and so can finding the right therapist – but it’s worth the effort. And with the right anxiety therapist, your efforts will add to great progress!