A racing mind, catastrophizing thoughts, never ending what-if scenarios playing out in our head, anxiety can place us in a constant state of overdrive.
Even though we know our anxious thoughts are unrealistic, logical self-talk doesn’t always work.
We seek out reassurance from others, and we’re met with logical explanations or someone trying to fix. At best, it brings temporary relief, most often, it makes us feel worse, long-term; even more alone and isolated in our anxiety.
Here are some common symptoms anxiety brings us:
- Cloudy mind
- Difficulty listening to others
- Difficulty remembering important details
- Constantly seeking reassurance from others
- Catastrophizing thoughts
- Muscle tightness
- Difficulty relaxing
- Difficulty sleeping
- Weight gain or loss
- Avoiding triggers
How therapy can help
Therapy is a great way to increase our awareness. Though we are often quite aware of the anxiety, we’re often less aware of our triggers, habitual thought patterns, and automatic reactions.
By increasing our awareness of these automatic processes, we make them less automatic. And we have a better chance at reducing the negative outcomes that anxiety brings us.
Therapy can also help with how we relate to and view our anxiety. Anxiety has a tendency to compound; we become anxious, and then we become anxious about our anxiety.
Therapy can help assist in accepting anxiety. Not to become complacent and give into it, but instead, prevent the compounding, vortex-like impact it can have on us.
Concerns for therapy
“I don’t want to confront my anxiety”
The tricky part about anxiety is that it tells us to avoid, so we do, and the result is relief. But, it’s usually just temporary. The more we avoid, the stronger it becomes, and the harder it becomes to confront. Anxiety can trap us.
The thought of confronting our anxiety brings us anxiety. So, it’s very normal and logical to avoid it.
The earlier you start, the easier it will be. And getting out of the anxiety trap can be less intimidating and more efficient with a therapist.
“I don’t want to be pushed to talk about things”
Anxiety is there to protect us. In fact, we don’t want to get rid of it completely.
I respect my clients’ anxiety because I understand it’s there for protection. And I understand that a quick and drastic disruption to this is harmful.
My goal during our work together is to learn your pace, not to force a particular pace.
I believe therapy is, and should always be, a collaborative effort. You’re in the driver’s seat, while I’ll be in the passenger seat.
“I’m too busy”
Life is very busy. And the thought of therapy can feel like you’re adding to your list when you should really be taking things off.
An alternative view to this however is, that therapy is self-care and a way to thoughtfully and intentionally re-prioritize the things in your life.
If anxiety is getting in the way, then therapy might help with clearing off your plate by lightening the load of anxiety.
About Brian O’Sullivan, LMFT
I use Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), an evidenced-based and widely used approach for working with anxiety. CBT helps address anxiety by examining the relationship between our thoughts, emotions, and behavior. These three things often build off one another, feeding and reinforcing anxiety. Using CBT, together we will identify unhelpful cycles and construct new ways of relating to and dealing with your anxiety.
Clients receiving CBT therapy often report an increase in awareness to external and internal triggers allowing them to better and more proactively use coping strategies.
I am a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and hold M.S. in Counseling Psychology.
Why people contact me
- There are no major challenges. The person is looking for a sounding board on a particular area of their life.
- Day-to-day things are ok, however, the person is experiencing significant uncomfortable emotions.
- Functioning day-to-day is a challenge and solving the issue doesn’t seem possible.