Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. It is a normal and often healthy emotion. However, when a person regularly feels disproportionate levels of anxiety, it can become debilitating and interfere with daily life.
Symptoms of Anxiety Include:
- Racing or pounding heartbeat
- Sweating or hot flashes
- Trembling or shaking
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Tightness or pain in the chest
- Nausea or stomach discomfort
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Feeling faint or faintness
- Feelings of impending doom or danger
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
Anxiety can also manifest itself in physical ways, such as through fatigue, muscle tension, and headaches.
People who experience anxiety may also engage in avoidance behaviors, such as avoiding social situations or certain places, in order to reduce their anxiety.
Anxiety can be triggered by a variety of factors, including genetics, life experiences, and certain medical conditions. It is unfortunately often accompanied by other mental health conditions, such as depression or substance abuse. Sometimes individuals turn to substances to help them regulate their anxiety
Treatment for anxiety may include psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns, is a common treatment for anxiety.
It is important for individuals experiencing anxiety to seek treatment from a regulated/registered mental health professional. With the right support, people with anxiety can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
If you’re wondering what psychotherapy for anxiety can look like, here are 2 examples. One using CBT and the other using Psychodynamic Therapy.
In a cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) session for anxiety, the therapist and the client work together to identify and challenge negative thought patterns that contribute to the client’s anxiety. The client and therapist may also develop strategies to manage anxiety-provoking situations and learn relaxation techniques.
During the session, the therapist may ask the client to describe their anxiety symptoms and the situations that trigger their anxiety. The therapist may also ask the client to rate the intensity of their anxiety on a scale from 0 to 10, with 10 being the most intense.
Once the therapist has a better understanding of the client’s anxiety, they may help the client identify negative thought patterns, such as catastrophic thinking or overgeneralization. The therapist may ask the client to come up with evidence for and against these negative thoughts, in order to help the client see that their thoughts may not be entirely accurate.
The therapist may also help the client develop coping strategies to manage anxiety-provoking situations, such as deep breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation. The therapist may ask the client to practice these strategies outside of session and report back on their effectiveness.
As the client becomes more adept at managing their anxiety, the therapist may encourage them to gradually expose themselves to situations that trigger their anxiety. This process, called exposure therapy, helps the client learn to cope with their anxiety in a controlled setting and eventually become more comfortable in those situations.
Throughout the CBT process, the therapist may encourage the client to set goals for themselves and track their progress. The therapist may also provide the client with homework assignments to complete between sessions, such as keeping a journal of their thoughts and feelings or practicing relaxation techniques.
Overall, a CBT session for anxiety aims to help the client identify and challenge negative thought patterns, develop coping strategies, and gradually expose themselves to anxiety-provoking situations in order to manage their anxiety more effectively.
Psychodynamic Sessions for Anxiety
In a psychodynamic therapy session for anxiety, the therapist and the client work together to explore the unconscious conflicts and past experiences that may be contributing to the client’s anxiety. The therapist may use techniques such as free association and dream analysis to help the client gain insight into their unconscious thoughts and feelings.
During the session, the therapist may encourage the client to speak freely about their thoughts and feelings, without censoring themselves. The therapist may listen carefully for patterns in the client’s thoughts and behaviors and help the client make connections between their past experiences and their current anxiety.
For example, the therapist may help the client explore any past traumas or unresolved conflicts that may be contributing to their anxiety. The therapist may also help the client identify any defense mechanisms, such as repression or projection, that they may be using to avoid facing their anxiety.
The therapist may encourage the client to express their emotions and thoughts in the session, even if they feel uncomfortable or difficult to talk about. The therapist may also help the client recognize any negative thought patterns or maladaptive behaviors that may be contributing to their anxiety.
Throughout the psychodynamic therapy process, the therapist may encourage the client to reflect on their experiences and emotions in between sessions, and may provide the client with homework assignments to help them continue their exploration.
Overall, a psychodynamic therapy session for anxiety aims to help the client gain insight into the unconscious conflicts and past experiences that may be contributing to their anxiety and learn healthier ways of coping with their emotions.
Your therapist will work with you to apply an integration of these two approaches or additional approaches. There is no one approach that works for everyone and that’s why Psychotherapy has to be tailored to the individual.
All Our Services
Anxiety therapy is a form of mental health treatment designed to help individuals manage and overcome symptoms of anxiety. At YYZ, our qualified therapists and counselors offer various therapeutic approaches to address anxiety disorders, providing support and coping strategies.
It can be helpful to jot down your thoughts and feelings before each session, set specific goals, and be open and honest with your therapist. Being actively engaged in the therapy process can lead to more effective outcomes.
The duration of anxiety therapy can vary depending on individual needs and the severity of the anxiety disorder. Some people may benefit from short-term therapy (a few weeks to a few months), while others may require longer-term treatment.
To maximize the benefits of therapy, it’s essential to be open and honest with your therapist, actively participate in the process, complete recommended homework or exercises, and communicate any concerns or progress.