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Anxiety Counselling Perth
Need help with anxiety? Anxiety is a treatable condition, so there is no reason why you should suffer endlessly. Anxiety counselling can offer valuable insights into the underlying causes of various anxiety-related issues. Through this process, you can acquire effective tools to alleviate stress, conquer panic, and skilfully navigate challenging situations. By learning to manage anxiety constructively, you'll discover relief from symptoms and confidently navigate your daily life.
Anxiety Treatment Options
Anxiety can be effectively managed through learning new behaviours. Seeking early support is crucial, as symptoms may persist without intervention. In my practice, I specialise in a diverse range of highly effective therapeutic approaches and treatment options designed to overcome anxiety.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) to Treat Anxiety
Evidence indicates that CBT produces the most favourable outcomes and the longest-lasting effects in reducing anxiety. Cognitive restructuring is a technique drawn from CBT that recognises how we feel, behave and respond to situations is based on how we think. Thinking that is inaccurate, based on pessimistic predictions or false assumptions about other people and the world, fuels anxiety and other negative mood states. Cognitive restructuring involves working with a professional therapist to identify unhelpful thinking patterns that are causing you to become anxious. By recognising and challenging these patterns, anxiety-inducing thoughts and beliefs can be replaced with more positive ones, effectively reducing anxiety and enhancing coping skills.
Gestalt Therapy to Resolve Anxiety
Gestalt therapy centres around helping individuals gain awareness of how they create their anxiety. Anxiety is resolved when the individual remains centred in the present instead of negatively fantasising and catastrophising about the future. Individuals learn to recognise their internal movies as mere movies and not reality. What could be true and what is actually true are two different things. This realisation will decrease the anxiety to nothing. The approach encourages the development of self-awareness and self-support, which leads to new possibilities to live a more personally meaningful life.
Graded Exposure Therapy for Anxiety
Relief brought about by avoidance of an anxiety-provoking situation is temporary. It can mean you don't get a chance to face your fear and prove to yourself you can cope with it, in turn causing your anxiety to persist. Exposure to the anxiety-provoking situation, rather than avoiding it, is usually the best way to reduce its impact. A trained professional therapist can provide coping skills and support you to do this slowly and gradually in a controlled and safe environment. This allows you to build your confidence steadily, and as you face your fear without being harmed, your anxiety gradually diminishes.
Grounding Techniques for Reducing Anxiety Symptoms
Grounding encompasses a variety of therapeutic techniques that guide your focus outward toward the external world instead of inward on negative thoughts and emotions. While these techniques may not prevent anxiety, they prove invaluable during periods of intense emotional distress. A therapist can teach you a range of grounding strategies, including mental, physical, and self-soothing techniques:
In certain cases, medication offers temporary relief from anxiety symptoms while being used. However, it does not address the underlying causes of anxiety.
Natural Home Remedies
Learning relaxation skills can help you release the physical tension in your body, which may be contributing to you experiencing excessive anxiety. Incorporating simple daily practices like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, mindfulness exercises, and non-strenuous activities like yoga can be helpful.
Healthy Lifestyle Choices:
Eat nutritious food
Obtain sufficient sleep
Engage in regular physical activity - for many people, walking, running, or swimming is helpful
Dedicate time to family, friends, and recreational activities
Avoid the use of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and other drugs
Feeling stressed or worried is a normal and natural human experience. Most of us experience some level of stress or worry on most days in response to a situation where we feel under pressure. These feelings usually subside once the stressful situation has ended. However, anxiety goes beyond feeling stressed or worried. It can manifest as ongoing, intense, and excessive, accompanied by frequent debilitating symptoms that cause distress and a sense of powerlessness.
What are the common symptoms of anxiety?
Emotional symptoms may be experienced as:
Regular nervousness, restlessness, or tension
Persistent worries about finances, relationships, employment or health
Recurrent intrusive and unwelcoming thoughts
Specific fears of situations or objects
Inability to relax
A tendency to always focus on the negative
Catastrophic thinking about the future
Ongoing stress about past trauma or loss
An overwhelming desire to avoid things that trigger anxiety
Physical symptoms may be experienced as:
Dizziness or light-headedness
Changes to vision
An increase in heart rate
Rapid, shallow breathing
Nausea and butterflies in the stomach
A rush of adrenaline
An increase in sweating
What is the difference between fear and anxiety?
Fear is an automatic, inbuilt emotional reaction that occurs when we perceive an immediate threat. It occurs in both animals and humans, enabling our bodies to respond in ways that help keep us safe. For example, if a dangerous animal confronted us, we would likely respond with fear. This emotional response initiates a whole series of automatic physical, behavioural and cognitive changes that ultimately serve to protect us, known as the fight or flight response. The body is then poised to act immediately, which is helpful because we become highly alert and stronger, allowing us to either stay and fight the enemy or flee as fast as we can.
Anxiety closely resembles fear, but there's a key difference. Anxiety triggers the fight or flight response in anticipation of 'perceived future danger', whereas fear is linked to 'real imminent danger'. The fight or flight response was designed for use in short-term situations, after which the body should return to a normal level of function. However, for about one in twelve people who continuously trigger this response due to imagined or perceived future danger, the body is unable to return to a normal level of function. For those individuals, the ongoing unpleasant symptoms of the response can become so severe and prolonged that it can impair daily functioning. Furthermore, a common response to these unpleasant symptoms is to worry about them, which further amplifies anxiety.
What are the causes of anxiety?
Anxiety doesn't have a single cause, but several factors or a combination can contribute to its development:
Prolonged periods of high stress, such as work pressure, relationship issues, or traumatic events, can make individuals more vulnerable to anxiety.
Unhelpful thinking patterns:
Negative thinking, self-blame, catastrophising, making assumptions, over-generalisations and unrealistic demands on oneself can fuel anxiety.
Early childhood experiences:
Traumatic or abusive childhood experiences can shape beliefs that the world is unsafe, fostering anxiety.
Chronic illnesses can lead to worries about treatment and future health, contributing to anxiety.
Anxiety can run in families due to genetic factors.
Side-effects from prescribed medication.
Drugs and alcohol:
Some people use alcohol or other drugs to help them manage their anxiety. However, alcohol and substance misuse can aggravate anxiety symptoms, particularly as the effects of the substance wears off.
Severe Anxiety & Anxiety Disorders
Ongoing severe anxiety may result in an individual developing an anxiety disorder. There are many types of anxiety disorders. Here are some of the more common ones. These brief descriptions are for educational purposes only and should not be used to label or diagnose yourself with a condition. If any of the conditions listed below appear relevant to you, engaging in anxiety counselling with a qualified psychologist or psychotherapist is advised.
Agoraphobia is characterised by the fear of being in situations where one could potentially experience anxiety or panic, and escaping from these situations might prove to be challenging or embarrassing. While the primary fear might seem to revolve around public places like shopping centres, public transportation, and open spaces, evidence suggests that the anxiety is primarily centred on the possibility of having a panic attack.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD):
GAD involves the persistent and excessive experience of anxiety or worry, not necessarily about anything specific, that the individual finds difficult to manage or control. The individual's worries relate not just to specific stressful situations, but they may also relate to several aspects of everyday life, including work, health, family, relationships or financial issues. GAD can feel like a constant state of dread with little respite from the anxious state.
Hypochondria or Health Anxiety:
Hypochondria refers to a healthy individual having an obsession or fear about having or obtaining a serious illness. Sometimes harmless physical symptoms are perceived as serious medical conditions. People with hypochondria have a constant fixation with the body, self-examination and self-diagnosing.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD):
In OCD, obsessions encompass unwelcome, recurring, and persistent thoughts or desires that the individual attempts to manage but finds exceedingly challenging to eradicate. These constant thoughts often lead to notable anxiety or distress. Conversely, compulsions are irresistible urges compelling the individual to engage in repetitive actions or rituals, all in an effort to alleviate their anxiety. For instance, an individual preoccupied with the fear of infection may compulsively wash themselves or repeatedly clean their surroundings.
Panic attacks are unexpected surges of intense fear or discomfort that reach a peak within minutes, accompanied by physical and/or cognitive symptoms. The panic attack may or may not occur for an apparent reason. Sometimes, people experiencing a panic attack think they are having a heart attack or about to die. Panic disorder is the term used to describe recurrent panic attacks or persistent fears of having one for more than a month or an unhelpful change in behaviour because of the panic attacks.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):
PTSD is a particular set of reactions that can develop in individuals who have experienced an extremely traumatic event(s) that threatened their life or safety or that of others around them. In this condition, the individual often re-experiences the traumatic event(s). This experience may be accompanied by ongoing symptoms of nightmares, flashbacks of the event, difficulty relaxing, and the avoidance of anything related to the event. As a result, the person may experience feelings of intense fear, helplessness or horror. It is important to note that not everyone who experiences these events will necessarily develop PTSD.
Within this condition, individuals grapple with intense anxiety or fear triggered by engagement in specific types of social interactions or situations wherein speaking is anticipated. These scenarios encompass encounters with unfamiliar individuals, instances where the person might be observed eating or drinking, and moments when public speaking or performing is necessary. The individual's apprehension originates from concerns about undergoing negative evaluations from others, facing embarrassment, humiliation, rejection, or causing offence. This heightened anxiety often culminates in avoidance behaviour, substantially curbing the affected person's ability to attain their full social and occupational potential.
In this condition, people experience clinically significant fear or anxiety about specific objects or situations, such as spiders, heights, or flying. The fear, anxiety, or avoidance is almost always immediately induced by the phobic situation, to an excessive degree and out of proportion to the actual risk posed.
Additional Articles About Anxiety
Find out more about a range of other anxiety-related issues and how talking to an anxiety counsellor can help:
Featured Videos About Anxiety
Click here to view a range of short informative and interesting YouTube videos about anxiety.
Anxiety Therapy Perth
Anxiety is treatable, and attending anxiety counselling can help you explore and understand the possible causes and triggers of your anxiety. Using evidence-based techniques like cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), I can assist you in managing and overcoming your anxiety symptoms. Why not take the first step today by calling or using the online contact form to schedule an appointment and start working through your anxiety?