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  • Sara

How Therapy Can Help You Manage Your Anxiety

If you're struggling with anxiety, you're not alone. Many people deal with anxiety on a daily basis. And while it can be tough to manage, there are a number of things you can do to help ease your anxiety. One of those things is working with a therapist who can help you identify ways to improve your thinking, behavior and, ultimately, your life.

There are many different types of therapy available, and it can be tough to know which one is right for you. But there's no need to feel overwhelmed. A therapist can help you figure out which type of therapy will work best for your unique situation. They’ll intuitively know which approach is best suited to you, and while you’ll be able to ask as many questions as you’d like along the way, you may or may not choose to ask which approach is behind the interventions being used.

For many, the idea of simply finding a therapist and going to therapy daunting. You may ask yourself, “How can I open up to this stranger?” or “What can they even do to help?” and while these are valid questions, a therapist’s job is to help you. They are solely there to be a safe person that you can open up to and who helps you cope with your anxiety. So, if you are worried about being judged by your therapist, don’t be. Therapy is such a valuable tool that, when used properly, can be so helpful in learning how to cope with anxiety.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when searching for an anxiety therapist:

First, make sure that the therapist is experienced in treating anxiety. This can be verified by asking about their training and experience, or by checking their credentials. It’s important to note that most therapists are. Because anxiety and depression are so common, these are two basics that are built into their educational backgrounds and also two of the most common conditions that therapists encounter in practice.

Second, ask about the therapist's approach to treatment. There are many different therapeutic approaches to treating anxiety. Some of the more common approaches include cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and relaxation techniques.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that helps people to change the way they think and behave in order to better cope with anxiety. This type of therapy typically focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and beliefs about anxiety and the world.

Exposure therapy involves gradually exposing oneself to the things or situations that trigger anxiety. The goal of exposure therapy is to help people learn to better cope with their anxiety triggers. So, if leaving the house is triggering, for example, it may be suggested that the client first look out the window, then walk to the end of the driveway to retrieve the mail, and ultimately, leave their property.

Relaxation techniques can include things like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises. These techniques can help to promote a sense of calm and relaxation. Mindfulness interventions are also commonly used in this approach.

As your therapist gets to know you and your anxiety, they will better understand how they can help you. Remember, your therapist can only help you if you are honest with them. Hopefully, after a few sessions you will start feeling more comfortable opening up and talking about coping strategies. At this point, you and your therapist can start to do “real” work, which could involve reframing negative thought patterns, identifying healthier behaviors, and utilizing other interventions to help ease symptoms.

Again, if you expect change overnight you will be disappointed with yourself before you’re able to get very far. When you don’t see immediate change, you may become too frustrated to continue. But remember that you have to give yourself the time to learn and heal. Anxiety symptoms weren’t established overnight and undoing these isn’t going to happen overnight either.

Many people with anxiety like to be able to predict change and understand what is happening to them or around them. Having anxiety makes control feel comforting because you know what is going to happen and why. Therapists can help you understand your actions and thoughts better by putting them into a different perspective. By helping you understand why you may be thinking or acting a certain way it can help you learn how to handle your thoughts and actions.

Therapists are there to help you and show you ways that you may choose to employ to cope. Oftentimes, it takes trial and error to find the right interventions for you. Therapy should always be a safe place for you to express yourself and learn how to live with your anxiety. Finding and starting therapy may seem scary, but once you do it you can truly start learning how to live a healthy life.

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