Many different techniques have been developed to treat anxiety and have evolved over time from early psychoanalytic approaches to the newest cognitive-behavioral therapies.
If you are living with anxiety, therapy can be an effective treatment that may help relieve your symptoms in a short period of time. However, that does not mean that therapy does not involve work on your part; most therapy involves homework and requires you to learn how to apply what you learn on your own once you complete the course of treatment.
In this post I am going to speak about 4 evidence based therapies that are recommended in the treatment of anxiety and other mental health disorders.
Types of Anxiety Disorders That can be treated therapeutically
A variety of different types of anxiety disorders are treated with therapeutic approaches. Some of these include the following:
Stress and burnout
Feeling on edge
Increasing confidence and self esteem
Fears and Phobias
Confidence for exams, interviews presentations
High functioning anxiety
Anxiety and worry because of life transitions
Trauma and feeling on edge
A general sense of unhappiness and unfulfillment
Regardless of the specific problem, the underlying causes often follow similar patterns. People with anxiety tend to react to unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and situations in a more extreme way and may try to manage those reactions by avoiding triggers. Unfortunately, this type of avoidance only serves to reinforce fears and worries. Modern therapies address negative thinking and avoidance to help manage anxiety.
The goal of all types of therapy for anxiety is to help you learn how to overcome your fear and calm your emotional reactions. This is true whether you are taking part in individual or group therapy. Below I have listed the 4 therapies I will be discussing within this post.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing
Rapid Transformational Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective for a variety of types of anxiety disorders including panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
The premise of CBT is that examining your negative thoughts and perceptions to identify distortions can be helpful to manage anxiety. Based on this premise, what you think about situations is more important in determining how you feel than what actually happens in those situations. In other words, it is your thoughts that determine how you feel.
Negative thoughts make fear and anxiety worse. So, the goal of CBT is to correct irrational negative thoughts and replace them with more positive, realistic perceptions. This process is best done with a therapist because it can be hard to identify your own irrational thoughts.
A therapist might ask, “What were you thinking before you started feeling anxious?” This will often help you to start seeing your thoughts in terms of the patterns that they follow.
For example, you might do a lot of “black-and-white” thinking, where you assume that things are all bad or all good. Instead, you would replace those thoughts with the more realistic perception that there are many shades of grey in between.
It takes practice to use CBT techniques, but once you start to recognize your anxiety and your triggers, you can learn to apply the coping skills that you learn in CBT to manage fear, panic, and worry.
The Benefits of CBT
CBT can be as effective as medication in treating some mental health disorders and may be helpful in cases where medication alone has not worked.
A program of CBT can be completed in a relatively short period of time compared to other talking therapies like counselling.
CBT focuses on re-training your thoughts and altering your behaviours, in order to make changes to how you feel.
The highly structured nature of CBT means it can be provided in different formats, including in groups, self-help books and computer programmes.
Skills you learn in CBT are useful, practical and helpful strategies that can be incorporated into everyday life to help you cope better with future stresses and difficulties, even after treatment has finished.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
Mindfulness is a quality that every human being already possesses, it’s not something you have to conjure up, you just have to learn how to access it.
While mindfulness is innate, it can be cultivated through proven techniques, particularly seated, walking, standing, and moving meditation. When we meditate it doesn’t help to fixate on the benefits, but rather to just do the practice, and yet there are benefits or no one would do it. When we’re mindful, we reduce stress, enhance performance, gain insight and awareness through observing our own mind, and increase our attention to others’ well-being.
Mindfulness meditation gives us a time in our lives when we can suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness to ourselves and others.
Being mindful is very beneficial for anxiety as it helps to bring awareness and clarity to anxious thoughts and feelings. Once anxious thoughts, feelings and behaviours have been noticed mindfully, it becomes easier to choose alternatives.
You can actually begin to enjoy what you are doing, rather than be fearful or anxious. Your relationships become enriched. You can enjoy better connections and fewer misunderstandings with others because you actively listen, rather than allow your mind to wander elsewhere.
You may build greater focus, attention, and a capacity to stay calm under pressure.
You may feel more confident, more in control, and have greater participation in all areas of life. You may be able to tap into gratitude, acceptance, and less judgment of the who, what, where, when, and whys of life.
You may experience greater self and social awareness, two mental assets that help significantly in regulating mood and emotions.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.
Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of managing anxiety in a short space of time, rather than years. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma as much as the body recovers from physical trauma.
When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block or trigger is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, a trauma of sorts, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering.
The Benefits of EMDR
EMDR therapy has been around since 1989. Despite that relatively short history, there’s extensive clinical research backing this method. It has been the subject of numerous studies that support its use. The American Psychiatric Association and U.S. Department of Defense has recognized it as a form of treatment for trauma and anxiety.
EMDR therapy has a number of benefits. It can:
Separate Reactions From Stressors
Substance addiction can become a habitual way of dealing with a long-term stressor. For example, when confronted with a memory from the past, a person may take drugs or drink alcohol as a way to cope. EMDR helps those struggling with addiction to separate that cause and effect. They learn to deal with the emotion of an issue rather than simply reacting to it.
Reveal Past Traumas So True Healing Can Begin.
Sometimes a person will block out or push aside memories of a traumatic event that contributes to their addiction. If they don’t deal with this past trauma, they can’t move past it and begin to heal.
Mimic Sleeping Patterns to Bring About Healing
When people sleep, their bodies go about the hard work of repairing themselves. All the “heavy lifting” of body maintenance is done when people sleep, from healing bruises to mending broken bones.
It follows, then, that to heal the mind, it’s helpful to mimic that sleeping pattern. EMDR relies on a unique reproduction of the REM sleep cycle, teaching the mind to heal while also relaxing the rest of the body.
Treat a Wide Range of Symptoms
EMDR therapy can treat a wide range of symptoms, many of which are experienced by those battling addiction, panic attacks, low self-esteem, anxiety, phobias, insomnia, excessive worrying and anger issues.
Rapid Transformational Therapy
RTT uses advanced hypnotherapy, neurolinguistic therapy and cognitive behavioural techniques all rolled into one super therapy. Using RTT we have the ability to access the subconscious mind, allowing us to uncover, reprogram and upgrade limiting beliefs and find the root cause of any anxiety trigger.
The direct access to the subconscious, along with other modalities used in RTT allows us to effectively, swiftly and permanently create the change you seek.
Unlike traditional talk therapy, RTT most commonly delivers in a single session. Some issues may require up to, but not more than 3 sessions. Rapid Transformational Therapy is a hybrid therapy that offers unparalleled results by combining the most beneficial principles of Hypnotherapy, NLP, Psychotherapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
RTT is proven highly effective in the treatment of phobias such as a fear of Public Speaking, Fear of Visibility, Self-Sabotage, Anxiety and Depression
If you would like to discuss any of these approached further then drop me an email and we can arrange a chat.