Therapy for Anxiety
Our nervous systems were not designed for the world we live in today.
At no point in human history have people been more connected to everything and everyone around them. We get updates from friends and family near and far on social media. We know what is happening throughout the world, with vivid detail and imagery. All of our relationships are immediately available to us via text message or video call.
These advancements in technology are incredible and come with so many benefits.
On the other hand, this level of connectedness can create unprecedented pressure, expectations, and emotional burden.
Navigating life in this context is demanding even for those of us without a predisposition for anxiety. Furthermore, adding a stressful life event or hectic work schedule to this context makes it very common for individuals to experience symptoms ranging from low-grade, uncomfortable “buzzing” sensation to anxiety attacks.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is not a problem that needs to be eradicated.
It is a crucial evolutionary trait that is necessary for our survival! Anxiety signals that a threat is present. It tells us that we need to take action to protect ourselves and find safety.
Anxiety becomes a “problem” when these symptoms arise with a frequency and/or intensity that does not match our surrounding environment. It is completely understandable for anxiety symptoms to spike if you see a bear in the woods and need to seek safety. If these symptoms elevate in social settings where there is no immediate risk of harm, however, that is a different story.
Therapy for anxiety is meant to help you calibrate the way this important function of your nervous system operates.
How I Can Help
When working with clients who are struggling with anxiety, I first assess whether symptoms stem from biological or environmental factors – or both. Together, we will create a course of action accordingly.
For most people, the first order of business is developing skills and strategies to manage anxiety when it is happening. Deeper work is not possible until you can feel more capable of managing these symptoms.
Therefore, the primary focus of our initial sessions will revolve around emotional regulation skills. I provide psychoeducation about anxiety. I introduce mindfulness and grounding techniques. And, together, we will create a map of how your anxiety presents itself in your mind and body so you can recognize the signals your nervous system sends to you which indicate the need for anxiety management.
Our initial goal is to solidify your anxiety “toolbox” so that you know which tools work the best for you and have practiced implementing them into daily life.
When you begin to feel more fluent at managing anxiety symptoms, we can start to focus on the root causes of how anxiety arises in your life.
The ways in which you relate to yourself, the people in your life, and the world around you play an important role in how we can understand and manage anxiety when it arises. Together, we will work to build insight into past and present experiences that are influencing your anxiety symptoms. What are the beliefs and interpretations you make of the world around you that cause distress? When we can understand how to make sense of your anxiety in this context, we can identify other possibilities to include as we expand the narrative of your life.