Anxiety counseling can be a helpful way to cope with worry, fear and tension. Fear and anxiety are some of the most uncomfortable emotions that we can experience. Anxiety drains our energy, dominates our thoughts, and even robs us of our ability to enjoy the present.
Many of us dread the way our anxiety makes us feel, but we do not know how to prevent it or lessen its hold on our lives.
Anxiety counseling can be a helpful way for individuals to gain control of fears and live more peacefully amidst the storms of life. While anxiety is not something that we can just snap out of, it is also not something that we have to live with forever. Anxiety counseling can help teach you new ways of thinking and new strategies for managing anxiety, so that you can live with greater confidence and freedom each day.
While anxiety is one of the more uncomfortable emotions, it has an extremely adaptive place in our lives. Anxiety warns us of possible injury or bad outcome, and prompts us to heed caution in the face of risk. Our anxious intuition provides us with valuable information about the safety of our environment and future and is an imperative for long-term survival. Apprehension, worry, contemplation is a normal reaction to an extreme stressor. But like anything else, a good thing in an extreme state can become maladaptive. When anxiety results in panic, excessive rumination, self-doubt, and dread, it can paralyze our ability to make good decisions, enjoy life, and find a sense of peace.
What Does It Feel Like to Have Anxiety?
The topics with which people can worry can be incredibly broad and unique. However, most people with anxiety tend to worry about several specific topics: their own health and safety, the health and safety of others, finances, the future, their own abilities, the way others perceive them, school performance, the health of their relationships, family, and love.
The physical symptoms of anxiety can be quite uncomfortable. In accuse stress, many often experience fatigue, racing heart, jittery feeling, muscle tension, headache, fatigue, trembling, rapid breathing, insomnia and loss of appetite. As anxiety becomes prolonged, it can lead to insomnia, chronic changes in the immune system, weight gain, and malaise.
What is going on in my brain?
Brain researchers will divide up the brain into 3 basic parts. The frontal lobes (Forbrain) constitute the most sophisticated structures of the brain that allow us to make logical, rational decisions and act decisively rather than impulsively. The limbic system (Midbrain)is the emotional center of our brain and includes a structure called the amygdala, also know as the fear center. This part of our brain allows us to feel emotion, react in a more primal way to perceived treats, and alert is to any possible danger. And lastly, the Hindbrain regulates the most important functions for survival, such as respiration, heart rate, sleep/wake cycle, balance, and motor activity. When faced with a fearful situation, our limbic system is activated and influences activity many other parts of the brain. However, when faced with actual or perceived extreme fear, the limbic system can dysregulate much of the activity in the frontal lobes, limiting our ability to make the very best decisions or very best discernments.
Anxiety Counseling FAQ
While the experience of anxiety is a very normal part of the human condition, there are several types of anxiety that can be very uncomfortable and problematic. The focus of anxiety counseling is to help deepen insight into anxiety triggers, develop adaptive coping strategies to help decrease anxiety symptoms, and find the ways to make life changes to help avoid unhealthy circumstances. Anxiety is one of the more uncomfortable emotions we can experience, yet is highly treatable and is often done so in a short amount of time. Our psychologists and counselors use a variety of techniques to treat anxiety including, cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, EMDR, family/relationship therapy, and life coaching.
One of the more frustrating things about anxiety is that the triggers and sources of anxiety can seem almost limitless. With so many presenting forms and so many varying causes, anxiety management can seem so confusing. Our therapists treat anxiety from a highly individualized approach, specifically tailored to each clients needs. For example:
When the root of our anxiety is due to negative, perfectionistic, or highly self-critical thoughts our psychologists or counselors may use cognitive behavioral therapy to help identify the negative thoughts contributing to the feelings of distress.
When the cause of anxiety is due to family stressors, our therapists help individuals identity their needs in relationship and find more adaptive ways to communicate or advocate for their needs.
When the cause of anxiety is due to trauma, our therapists can use EMDR or other techniques to help the individual be less anxious or triggered by their past negative experiences.
Almost every person has anxiety, but the way their anxiety presents itself can be very different. The following are the most common forms of anxiety.
Social Anxiety: Where individuals feel a great deal of stress, anxious thoughts, and negative self talk when in social circumstances.
Specific Phobia: When an individual is highly anxious in specific situations such as speaking in public, flying on an airplane, being around dogs, or being in tight spaces.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): When an individual has witnessed highly traumatic or anxiety provoking situations that has resulted in them being very hypervigilant, easily triggered and highly anxious when in current situation that remind them of their traumatic event.
Generalized Anxiety: When an individual feels that in most circumstances they experience elevated feelings of anxiety that leave them feeling overwhelmed, distressed and unable to relax.
Panic attacks: When an individual quickly becomes anxious and experiences acute physiological changes that often include rapid breathing, trembling, increased heart rate, difficulty focusing, feeling faint, nausea, feeling of “impending doom”, etc.
Common symptoms of anxiety include: Racing thoughts, feelings of agitation, feeling overwhelmed, decreased attention, difficulties thinking, excessive worry, restlessness, fatigue, physical tension, feelings of panic.
While many can maintain their jobs, relationships, and daily functions, they do so with great struggle and effort. Anxiety can often cause relationship difficulties as people tend to be more frustrated, agitated, less empathetic and less flexible when anxious. Anxiety can also cause physical difficulties that leave people feeling sick, tired, and more prone to infections. Lastly, it can impact life satisfaction leading to feelings of worthlessness, lack of accomplishment, or fear of failure.
The treatments for anxiety include talk therapy and medication management. Talk therapy will focus on the specific type of anxiety and will help the individual deepen their insight into their distress, identify the triggers for their anxiety, develop adaptive coping skills for these circumstances and look at overall life circumstances and how these may be adjusted to avoid feelings of anxiety for the future.
Many people choose to seek treatment for anxiety when they feel their efforts to control their anxiety are no longer working. Treatment for anxiety can also be very helpful before an individual’s anxiety gets out of control. When people are in a calm place, they may be in the best position to proactively make life choices to avoid thought patterns, relationships, and life choices that can lead to anxiety symptoms. So either amid increasing anxiety or before anxiety increasing, anxiety treatment can be very helpful.
Our psychologists and counselors are passionate about finding a treatment plan that is specifically tailored to each individual’s needs and circumstances. While in therapy, counseling will focus on helping the individual deepen insight into anxiety triggers, develop adaptive coping strategies to help decrease anxiety symptoms, and find ways to make life changes to help avoid unhealthy circumstances. Should medication management be desired, our psychologists and counselors will coordinate care with treating physicians to provide the best continuity of care.
Meet our Team
Doctorate and Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology, Arizona School of Professional Psychology
Practice Areas: Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Relationship Counseling, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Grief, Spiritual Integration, Medical Counseling, Immigration Evaluation Services
Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy, Arizona State University
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Practice Areas: Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), marriage/relationship therapy, individual therapy, trauma, faith-based counseling, grief and loss, parenting/coparenting issues, depression, anxiety, adjustment disorders, work/life stressors
M.S. Marriage and Family Therapy,
Arizona State University
B.S. Family and Human Development,
Arizona State University
Practice Areas: Marriage/relationship therapy, pre-marital counseling, grief and loss, general counseling, anxiety and depression, individual therapy, life changes, work/life stressors
M.S. Counseling and Human Services,
University of Toledo
Bowling Green State University
Practice Areas: Relationship / marriage counseling, pre-marital counseling, parenting, general counseling, anxiety and depression, individual therapy, career decisions, caring for aging relatives, life changes, work/life stressors
We’re here for you.
Our anxiety counselors apply professional expertise and understanding to provide the best holistic counseling services in the Phoenix, AZ.
A 10-min consultation can help you determine whether our services would be the right fit for you. Call us today for a free phone consultation.