"May your choices reflect your hope, not your fears." Nelson Mandela
Anxiety Therapy For Adults, Teens And Children
Anxiety affects all of us -- on first dates, during job interviews and within countless other stressful situations. Sometimes anxiety can persist beyond these external stressors. When this happens, it can keep us from functioning well in our day-to-day lives and achieving our goals.
If you’ve lived with anxiety for some time, you may feel like you’re being chased by one worry after the next. It’s like a weight that’s always pressing down on you, a fear always in the back of your mind. As your sense of insecurity grows, you may miss out on experiences or opportunities. You may feel your world getting smaller.
Regardless of your unique experience with anxiety, you likely wish you could fully engage with your life.
Fortunately, there are very effective ways to deal with anxiety, based on years of research and real-world experience. As with any emotional disorder, anxiety is an opponent -- it is something that robs life of balance and joy. Don’t accept that it will forever control your life. Fight back, win control and regain a new sense of peace and freedom. That is what Invictus Psychological Services is here to help you do.
How Most People Experience Anxiety Symptoms
Anxiety is often thought of in three symptom clusters: physical sensations, fearful emotions and dreadful thinking. Although your specific emotions and thoughts may vary greatly, the physical symptoms of stress often include sweating, heart flutters, fatigue, restlessness, gastrointestinal issues and in some cases, panic attacks.
Different types of anxiety disorders have different cognitive and emotional symptoms. If you are struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), your day may be filled with fears that you haven’t locked the door, forgot to turn off the oven or have touched something contaminated. You may have to check several times to feel as though a task has been completed correctly. The compulsive behavior relieves your anxiety, but only for a short time.
If you’re dealing with a phobia, then you may devote a lot of time and energy toward avoiding whatever you perceive as dangerous. Folks with phobias often don’t experience anxiety symptoms unless the phobia is present.
With social anxiety, you may retreat from social gatherings and decline invitations to parties or dinner dates, even with people you know and care about. Social anxiety can limit you from taking strides in your relationships and career.
The most common of these disorders is generalized anxiety. With other forms of anxiety, life is a canvas on which various anxieties are painted. For generalized anxiety disorder, the anxiety is the canvas upon which life is painted. When this is the case there will often be times when you’re dealing with anxiety that has no specific target. At other times, the anxiety finds a target (the tendency to obsessively worry about what might happen if....).
Regardless of the particulars, for many people anxiety is a tormenting force that pre-occupies their thoughts, depletes energy, constricts behavior, and constrains life.
Anxiety Is Very Common
If you’re wrestling with signs of anxiety, you are certainly not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it’s estimated that nineteen percent of adults experienced anxiety in the past year. Thirty-one percent of adults experience an anxiety disorder during some point in their lives. Moreover, thirty-two percent of adolescents will experience anxiety by the time they reach adulthood.
Anxiety can be caused by a variety of environmental and genetic factors. If one or both of your parents struggled with anxiety, it’s very likely that you will, too.
Genetics is the not the final factor, however, that determines whether or not someone will develop anxiety symptoms. From an early age, you develop a sense of self that shapes your worldview and how you cope with stress. If you received messages in childhood that made you believe you are not well liked, valued or competent, or if you engaged heavily in high-risk behaviors (that had poor outcomes), then you may have a predisposition to develop anxiety.
Those who struggle with anxiety for long periods of time often develop symptoms of depression. You may view yourself and the world through a critical, hopeless lens that makes it difficult to find pleasure. At this point, your lifestyle may be so drastically altered that you’re not living fully. In therapy, we can challenge thoughts, beliefs and emotions that are keeping you stuck.
Therapy Can Help You Overcome Anxiety
Research indicates that talk therapy is the most effective method for treating anxiety. Most people who enter therapy experience significant relief. Moreover, they learn skills that not only provide freedom from overwhelming anxiety in the present, but can be used to combat anxiety that may arise later in life. Put somewhat differently, therapy is effective at helping people develop greater psychological strength.
During our sessions together, we’ll explore how your history, past relationships and experiences have shaped your current feelings of unease. We’ll also explore the biology of anxiety -- how it affects your mind and body, as well as how worry can be habit forming.
As you become aware of what has caused your anxiety and what is keeping you stuck in unhelpful habits, we’ll examine practical ways to make changes for the better. In truth, anxiety is something that everyone experiences. There is no such thing a lifetime of being anxiety free. There is, however, a huge difference in the quality of life when one learns how to deal with anxiety, rather than be held captive by fear.
You may already have some coping techniques that work well, such as exercising or keeping a journal. Other methods I may introduce include breathing techniques, grounding, mindfulness, guided imagery, cognitive restructuring, enhancing control and more.
I take a client centered, problem-oriented approach to therapy. This means you ultimately take the lead in determining your goals, and I respond with options for reaching those objectives. Although this approach is compassionate and supportive, I also expect clients to work hard to make changes in their lives. It’s my job is to show you how it can be done, and support you as together we move forward in resolving your fears.
When working with children, parents play a key role in helping their son or daughter learn new skills, and engage in new experiences, that bring lasting change and control over anxiety.
I have Ph.D. in psychology, and have been working with folks with anxiety for over thirty years (twenty-one years in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center). Over the years of helping people with anxiety I have seen time and again that persistence and hard work pay off. Anxiety need not control someone's life.
There is no sense in denying that it can be (and often is) hard work, but the rewards are worth the effort. Most people are surprised at the transformation they experience, how different life feels when anxiety is not in control. Being able to focus on the possibilities for the future, and enjoyment of the present, make life so much sweeter.
You may still have questions or concerns about anxiety treatment…
I’m worried I don’t have the time or money.
If you’re ready to work through pent-up distress, anxiety therapy is worth investing in. Oftentimes, anxiety doesn’t subside on its own.
Plus, how much more time and/or money have you already wasted on anxiety? Maybe you’ve turned down a promotion at work because it requires being more social. Maybe you’ve missed out on really exciting experiences. What if you could feel confident pursing opportunities that you deserve?
If everyone experiences anxiety, won’t mine go away on its own?
If your anxiety has persisted more than a few months, it’s not likely to subside on its own. At least not very soon, and very possibly it could become more entrenched. Stress can impact your mind and body in acute ways. It pays to have the effective skills needed to battle any long-held beliefs and behaviors that are keeping you stuck in a negative loop.
I don’t want to talk to a stranger about my anxiety. It’s embarrassing.
After thirty years of practice, I doubt you’re going to tell me something I haven’t heard before. That doesn’t mean your struggles aren’t valid or urgent; however, the truth is that anxiety is a very common mental health issue. You have nothing to feel ashamed of.
I understand that talking about anxiety may be uncomfortable, but the outcome is relief. Imagine feeling free from the burden of crippling fear. Life is too short to have anxiety hanging over you.
Ready to Feel Better?
If you have additional questions about anxiety therapy, I invite you to call me at (916) 790-5138 or contact me to set up a free fifteen-minute consultation. I’m happy to discuss your specific needs and answer any questions related to counseling or my practice in Folsom, CA.