What would it look like to overcome your worry that holds you back from your best life? What if you never had another anxiety or panic attack again?
A small amount of anxiety and stress can be healthy - but when it starts to impact your ability to live the life you want, anxiety treatment with an experienced therapist can help. Whether you are struggling with social anxiety, feel paralyzed by fear before tests at college, or find yourself avoiding things due to anxiety, consider reaching out and scheduling a free consultation with Rachel.
Through counseling and holistic approaches, Rachel helps people in Fort Lauderdale, Florida area to face their fears, conquer anxious thoughts and learn new ways to ride the waves of our emotional lives. By listening to your struggles, Rachel can help you find a new path forward. This may happen in various ways, such as finding new ways to approach a problem, building problem solving strategies, practicing mindfulness and breathing techniques, exploring your inner thoughts and ways you view situations, or facing your fears one at a time. Rachel has the skills, training and holistic approaches to help you step into the person you want to become.
What to Expect from Counseling for Anxiety Treatment
Treatment should help you find freedom from anxiety quickly and effectively. Using interventions that are supported by research, you will get the tips, tools and techniques that are proven to work.
Anxiety counseling typically begins with a period of assessment, where Rachel will ask questions about when you feel anxious - which are called anxiety triggers; what situations you may avoid due to your anxiety; and strategies you have used in the past to cope with your anxiety. From there, we will then explore new ways you can cope with your anxiety including mindfulness, meditation, yoga, grounding techniques and self-care. The goal is to help you quickly find the coping strategies for your own unique situation, so you no longer have to live in constant fear of a panic attack.
Through the use of various therapeutic strategies, we will explore a combination of mindfulness and behavior principles to help you better ride out and regulate your own emotions. One helpful strategy is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). DBT includes four major sets of skills: mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. An important component of DBT is training your "attention muscle" so that you can better focus on what is going on in the present moment rather than living in the past, or thinking ahead to the future. This is very helpful for clients with anxiety who find themselves constantly worrying about what is to come. Mindfulness helps you to stay more present in your life. Another important DBT-based concept that we will discuss is the idea of wise mind - acting and making decisions from a place that considers AND balances both what is logical and one's own emotions. For client with anxiety, this often means owning and being sensitive to where they are at emotionally, while at the same time pushing forward with their lives.
Emotion regulation skills largely focus on doing things to reduce your vulnerability to negative emotions and using strategies to change negative emotions that may come up. This is a holistic approach, in that we will explore sleep, healthy eating, exercise and other positive habits into your life to reduce your emotional vulnerability. We also look at changing negative emotions - acting opposite to emotions that are not justified by the present situation - even if they feel justified. The idea of acting opposite to fear and anxiety looks like this: encouraging you to face your thoughts, feelings, and situation that may be frightening rather than going on with your urge to avoid these situations. Acting opposite also means doing things like approaching people and being active instead of staying in bed when you are sad or depressed, and treating people with compassion or doing something nice for others even when you are angry. Many clients are surprised to find that when they act opposite to their negative emotions, their emotions actually change for the better!
Interpersonal effectiveness means being assertive, asking other people to make changes in their behavior or saying no to unwanted requests. It also means being able to gauge how strongly to commit to a position and knowing how to maintain your position in the face of challenging responses and reactions from others. This can be an important skill for individuals who are either socially anxious or who are simply stressed as a result of challenging interpersonal situations. I’ve personally found that DBT interpersonal effectiveness skills benefit a wide range of patient—from teens dealing with tough situations with friends to business executives navigating high pressure situations at work.
Finally, distress tolerance skills involve doing things to ride out your emotions so that you don’t make the situation that you are in worse. They are not intended to make people feel better but are rather intended to help people refrain from acting in haste. In essence, they are distraction tools, and since sitting with and not distracting from their emotions is so important for anxious individuals, I introduce these skills to my anxious patients a bit more sparingly than other DBT skills. However, distress tolerance can be extremely useful to people with anxiety who tend to jump the gun because they can’t tolerate sitting with their own uncertainty about anxiety provoking situations.
In summary, the key components of DBT can be used to enhance traditional cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders. I tailor my use of them with patients to each patient’s individual needs and many of my patients have found these skills to be invaluable.