Updated: Nov 1, 2021
The dictionary meaning of anxiety is a general feeling of apprehension. It’s not unusual to experience some amount of stress or anxiety before a big event like an exam or a job interview. But, if the feeling of restlessness or fear is habitual and has taken over your everyday life, you are not alone. Anxiety disorders affect 11.6% of Canadian adults each year – making it one of the most common mental disorders in the country. Despite this, people hesitate in seeking help from mental health counsellors. And continue to exist in agony. The first step, at times, is the hardest. Here’s what you need to know about anxiety disorders and the help available.
What are Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety relates to a wide range of issues arising from disorders like phobias, trauma, panic attacks, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), to name a few. Those who suffer from anxiety issues often fail to cope with its impact on their everyday lives—resulting in feelings of doom, fear, nervousness, and or excessive sweating and trembling. It can also cause a lack of focus while working, a constant high heart rate, rapid breathing, and gastrointestinal issues. Dealing with any of these on your own can feel like a struggle. But with the help of a trained mental health counsellor, you can begin healing in a safe and supported manner.
Types of Therapy for Anxiety
The main goal of counselling sessions is to help you with your complex feelings, symptoms, triggers, and coping mechanisms. It also aims at changing your approach to these problems. Some of the most well-established techniques used to treat anxiety disorders are:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This technique is successful in treating phobias, panic attacks, and general and social anxiety. It focuses on everyday experience and targets your emotional thinking and negative beliefs. It then teaches you to assess and replace them with more rational thought or action.
- Exposure Therapy: The idea behind exposure therapy is that if you are fearful of something, the most effective way to overcome it is to face it head-on. The therapist, bit by bit, will introduce you to objects or situations that result in anxiety. This generally occurs with the help of a method known as “systematic desensitization,” – which consists of three actions. Relax -The therapist will help you learn relaxation techniques to counter your anxiety. They are deep breathing, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery. List – Write or create a list of anxiety-provoking triggers, ranking them in order of intensity. Expose – In this last step, you will work on your anxiety-inducing situations or objects, using relaxation methods when needed.
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): This therapy is helpful for different kinds of anxiety disorders. The premise of ACT is that it requires you to identify your values in life and match your action according to those values.
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): This therapy might appear unusual at first. As it does not involve talk therapy or medications. Nonetheless, it remains a successful technique to treat anxiety disorders, especially trauma. The patient uses rapid, rhythmic eye movements that are effective in diminishing the power of emotions attached to traumatic memories.
Which One is For You?
Treatment for anxiety disorders is tailor-made to suit patients’ needs, symptoms and diagnosis. So, counselling can vary from person to person. No matter the technique, anxiety counselling can help to understand your problem. It will also teach you coping strategies to experience life to its fullest. What’s important is to realize that there is no shortcut or a magic pill. You will need patience and commitment towards counselling to find a long-term solution.
One of the most decorated American gymnasts, Simone Biles, stated, “Therapy is Everything.” And indeed it is. It can help you grow and achieve your full potential. Remember, there is no merit in suffering in silence when so much help is available out there. So take that first step.
If you’re looking for anxiety counselling Sherwood Park, Ward & Associates Psychological Services is here for you. We specialize in individual counselling for adults, teens, and children and couples counselling and trauma counselling for first responders. We also offer online therapy for clients residing in Alberta. Contact us to learn more about our services or to book an appointment.