Find freedom from worry, fear and stress through counselling for anxiety
Maybe you’re seeking counselling because you feel anxious, lost and overwhelmed. Fear, worry, negative thoughts and stress seem to have taken over, and perhaps you feel burned out by overthinking and lack of sleep. You may even suffer panic attacks. However, you could get immediate relief and learn how to calm anxiety in counselling.
If you’re searching for help with anxiety and live in or near the Dearne Valley area in South Yorkshire, you have come to the right place. I’m a BACP registered counsellor whose previous experience of working with people suffering from workplace stress and panic attacks has led me to specialise in this field.
Furthermore, as a mature person, I have valuable life experience, which I use to help me empathise with what you’re going through. Of course, as a professional, I am qualified and have ongoing training. However, being listened to and understood is the most effective way to calm anxiety.
Seeking Counselling for Anxiety?
Before engaging in counselling, you might consider discovering what you suffer from. Then you can find a therapist who specialises in that type of problem.
Here is a short list of anxiety symptoms to help you decide for yourself.
If a number of the above issues impact your health, it’s pretty likely your suspicions are correct. Alternatively, if you’re still not sure, read more about anxiety.
The good news is that it’s easy to get help; just find a therapist who specialises in anxiety you feel comfortable with and make an appointment. If you wish to start immediately, you don’t need to see your GP for help. You can self-refer to any private counselling service straight away. Many, including this one, either have only a very short waiting list or no waiting list at all.
Gain Confidence and Find Yourself
Somehow you know something’s missing: your confidence.
You might suffer intrusive thoughts and realise you’re living in your head. Perhaps you feel trapped because you’re trying to avoid something that fills you with dread. Alternatively, you might feel compelled to repeat behaviours like people-pleasing because you’re afraid of rejection.
You might hold yourself back. For example, if you feel self-conscious, you don’t allow yourself to shine when you can. Maybe you are afraid to speak up for yourself or start conversations. Worse still, you might see everyone else’s smiling faces and believe only you are unhappy. It’s enough to make your heart sink.
Stop Beating Yourself Up
But you’re reading this hoping to find a way to get your life back from the jaws of despair! Let me tell you, you don’t need to keep beating yourself up or doubting yourself. I aim to help you get stress relief and find your confidence.
Rather than merely coping with anxiety, you could know your own mind and be sure of yourself. I know you can get there; I’ve done it myself.
Stop Coping and Overcome Anxiety Instead
When people first come for help with their mental health, I often hear them say they want to find coping strategies. But they don’t know that feeling anxious is a natural reaction to a threat, and it’s appropriate sometimes.
You’re likely looking for immediate relief. However, let’s consider what you may already be doing to cope.
You might believe that others will see you as weak if they see something affecting you badly. If that’s true, you feel vulnerable because your roles and identity within family, friends and work are threatened. You might wish to avoid being misunderstood and judged harshly. So, you try to pretend everything’s OK. As a result, you become highly anxious if you think you’re about to be uncovered.
Another way to cope with anxiety is by throwing yourself into work or hobbies. Focusing on something other than your discomfort gives you temporary relief. The problem is that as soon as you stop trying to avoid it, the worrying returns. Repeating the cycles of comfort and distress can intensify a sense of being trapped.
Perhaps you’re someone who goes all-out to get drunk on an evening. Escaping your troubles might give you positive feelings, but the relief will only be temporary. Tomorrow you’ll probably be late for work, have a hangover and worry that you’ve offended someone. What will they think of you!? So, if you keep self-medicating like that, it will probably increase your stress in the long run and could lead to alcoholism.
The truth is, coping strategies don’t work: they only give temporary relief.
You need a permanent way to get calm and stay calm, don’t you agree? However, there are some things it might help you to realise first.
Overcome Anxiety Through Talking
There’s no better way than counselling to uncover the cause of your feelings. For a start, it’s well-documented that just talking to someone gives you immediate stress relief.
It may take a few weeks to get there because coping mechanisms like avoiding your feelings prevent you from finding the words to describe them. Conversely, talking to a therapist helps you develop the tools to name those feelings and understand what they mean.
Once you have grown a better awareness of your situation, you can make sense of everything and stay calm.
Manage Anxiety With Mindfulness
Mindful awareness and mindful living practices are additional ways of managing anxiety that supplement your counselling well.
As already mentioned, anxiety is a natural automatic response to environmental events. Therefore, you cannot switch it off, nor would it be healthy even to try. However, mindful awareness is a way of living in the moment that helps calm you because it soothes the biological systems that get triggered easily.
Mindfulness is also a way of living that automatically helps manage anxiety through learning to monitor your thoughts and feelings for anything that makes you want to escape living in the here and now. This approach fits very well with person-centred counselling because it is all about raising self-awareness.
As you start the process, you will likely try to control the environment to manage your stress levels. However, when very challenging situations arise, the clamour for control further increases your stress.
Knowing yourself better and understanding your situation is a better way of managing anxiety. That way, you know when you are yourself and when you are not – regarding behaviours and responses to events around you. Put another way, rather than responding to current events using past behaviours, you focus more on what’s happening now and respond accordingly. Then you will slowly get free of the old patterns of behaviour that are so unhelpful and keep you living in the past.
Better awareness of what’s happening now brings positive changes in your life. Here’s a story that demonstrates what can happen along the way in therapy.
How Dave Found His Voice in Therapy
Dave (name changed) was a middle-aged married man who had worked in engineering since leaving school. He had always been helpful and never turned anyone in need down.
He sought counselling for anxiety because a colleague was taking advantage of his kind nature, and he worried he wouldn’t be able to stop him. The inner conflict he found most difficult was that he couldn’t bring himself to say “no” when his friend asked for money.
I listened intently to his story without interrupting, allowing him to say what he had often thought but never shared with another person. He felt lighter from having unburdened himself, and after a few sessions, he became more assertive.
Together, we looked at his helpful nature. He had to comply with his father’s demands as a child to be accepted for his “good behaviour”. His father had been in the army and suffered PTSD from battle experience. As a result, he appeared controlling, and Dave was frightened by his angry outbursts.
Saying “No” Was Hard
Saying “no” to anybody seemed scary and contrary to his core values. Realising his past patterns of behaviour were still around helped him become more authentic. He began managing anxiety (what remained of it) by using mindful awareness, and the things he learned about himself in the sessions helped to keep a watch on his internal environment. With practice, he could return to the now if he began regressing. Eventually, he realised how to get his way at work and in other challenging circumstances without causing confrontation.
I helped him learn to express himself so he felt in control of his responses, and after a few months, he left therapy much happier. His self-esteem had improved, and he felt closer to his wife.
Put the Past to Rest to Feel Better
I know that looking for help is hard. You might be afraid someone will make you tell the secrets you’ve been hiding from others. You may not want your friends or family to know you’re looking for help because you don’t want to be judged or made to feel small. I understand that.
Despite any reservations, you are here now, which is a sign that you are willing to change your life. Well done! Just think how much better everything could be if you put your past traumas to rest.
Reap the Benefits of Counselling
All areas of your life could benefit from counselling.
If you persevere to the point where you’ve grown a better understanding of yourself, your mental and physical health should naturally improve, and you should find it easier to maintain healthy relationships. As your counsellor, I will try to put you at ease so you’re not afraid to talk. Then, going deeper into the causes of your particular issues will seem less stressful.
During therapy, other things are noticeable. Many report a more accurate sense of self or, in other words, a better sense of identity. It’s often one of the most distressing aspects of suffering from anxiety that people find diffuse thoughts and feelings confusing. Hence, the mental clarity from exploring your issues and a better idea of what kind of person you are are incredibly helpful in gaining self-confidence.
Additionally, you will likely begin to notice unpleasant feelings receding whilst self-awareness increases through talking about yourself in counselling. And do you know what? Mindful living helps free you from being trapped in reactivity. Then you will be able to make the most of your relationships.
Just think: stress and anxiety relief is within reach through talking to a qualified therapist.
Book a Free Consultation
To make choosing a therapist easier, I offer a free consultation so you can try counselling without committing yourself. Have 30 minutes of free chat on the phone or online via a video link. Alternatively, pay for half an hour’s face-to-face counselling session and have the other half on me at my therapy room in Wath Town Hall.
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