Everyone feels a normal degree of anxiety in life when faced with such challenges as a job interview or a visit to the dentist. However, if you feel anxious a lot of the time about many different situations it you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. Feelings of anxiety can be accompanied by other symptoms and issues such as:
Our approach to anxiety therapy
We believe that therapy is an effective anxiety treatment. The use of therapy helps to target both the symptoms and the root cause for anxiety. Once the root cause has been agreed, we can help you deal with your anxiety; it’s symptoms and triggers. It is at this point where we will build a tailor-made programme for you, depending on the symptoms you have listed.
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment to help with anxiety. Feelings such as worry, anxiousness, fear or panic can be mild, moderate or severe. The emotions of anxiety can be constant, long-term and can affect people’s daily life.
It has great results when applied to someone who suffers from social anxiety disorder. Using cognitive therapy, your therapist can help you to tackle negative thought patterns you may direct at yourself or that you perceive from the world around you. It is usually these negative thoughts that trigger an episode of anxiety. After you have recognised these negative thoughts and when they occur, you can work to replace them with something more rational and positive which will allow you to cope with anxiety in a calm and controlled manner.
You may find during your anxiety treatment, that learning to cope may not be enough. Your therapist will help you confront the triggers and fears whether real or manifested from the anxiety itself.
An anxiety therapy case study
Simon, aged 23, was friendly and likeable, but a little withdrawn. As a computer technician, he didn’t interact with many people at work and felt safe until new responsibilities changed this. He found he couldn’t always control his anxiety; during feelings of panic, he would get a wave of anxiety rushing up from his stomach to his throat, making him retch and sometimes sick.
Unable to eat in front of anybody except his family, his anxiety in social situations increased and was especially bad if women were in the group. He would decline invitations to the pub, as he was afraid he might be sick in front of others. He had noticed that his anxiety in situations with women had emerged when he was about 11 years old. He had not had a relationship with a woman for five years. He was due to present a course at work and it was the dread of this that prompted him to seek help.
He wanted to be mentally stronger and enjoy other people’s company. In his first session, an NLP technique taught him to make the wave of anxiety travel in the opposite direction. We introduced a metaphor about feeling really good in public and how it was possible to be calm and relaxed. During his second session, we used hypnotherapy to explore the origins of his anxiety and discovered it started when he joined a new school and felt overwhelmed and lost. He tried to make himself appear small and insignificant, and ensure that everything was perfect, so as not to draw attention to himself. Instead, he was bullied. We worked together on diminishing his need for perfectionism.
By his third session, Simon felt his control was increasing; he had not had a panic attack all week and had been feeling increasingly calm. As a work function was looming, we concentrated on his anxiety about eating in front of others, using hypnosis to introduce positive thoughts. At his next session, he explained he had been able to eat in front of male friends but felt self-conscious in front of women. During hypnosis, it emerged that his sisters had made fun of him when, aged 11, his voice started breaking. It also showed that a failed relationship, when he was 18, knocked his self-confidence with women. We used Gestalt therapy to explore the very intense feelings caused by this relationship.
Two sessions later, Simon explained that he had been out to the pub for lunch with two women at work, and had eaten a sandwich. He realised that his anxiety levels dropped to zero after about 10 minutes and felt confident it would improve. As he felt he had come a long way since the start, we suggested a break to consolidate his new patterns of behaviour. He called four weeks later say he felt much better about himself and was able to be calm and confident in social situations. He had started a relationship with a woman he had known for some time but had kept at arm’s length. And his fear of criticism had reduced to the extent that he had taken on the job of training staff.
Now my anxiety feels much more appropriate to what I’m doing and if I do feel like that, I just relax with it, go with it, accept it and I can’t even remember at what point it goes away!