Anxiety Disorder Treatment

Anxiety is characterised by symptoms of fear, apprehension, nervousness, and worry about an imminent or potential danger. Often this anxiety can be hard to control mentally and results in feelings of tension, being wound up, or on edge. If you need treatment for anxiety related issues in Melbourne read through to learn more.


Anxiety Disorder Treatment

Anxiety is characterised by symptoms of fear, apprehension, nervousness, and worry about an imminent or potential danger. Often this anxiety can be hard to control mentally and results in feelings of tension, being wound up, or on edge. If you need treatment for anxiety related issues in Melbourne read through to learn more.

Anxiety Treatment Melbourne: What is Anxiety?

Normal anxiety and fear are defensive emotions that serve an adaptive purpose necessary for coping and survival. In particular, anxiety and fear can help us to determine the level of threat in an environment. This then helps us to prepare for risks and challenges or to escape from potential danger. Small amounts of anxiety can be useful when preparing for a sports game, exam, or some other new challenge. In effect, our anxiety is a gauge of whether we feel safe or not.

However, often people experience anxiety and worry that is more intense and/or for prolonged periods. This anxiety and worry can be about a multitude of things in a person’s life (e.g. work, finances, the future). Furthermore, these symptoms can become difficult to control and might impact a persons day to day life. In these instances a person might have what is commonly referred to as generalized anxiety disorder.

In a sense our bodies pre-emptive alarm system goes in to over-drive. Severe anxiety can impact our quality of life and interfere with relationships, work, and enjoyment. The mind can fixate and construct worrisome events that are hard to let go of. Usually, in these instances anxiety treatment and counselling with a trained professional can help. I provide a comprehensive anxiety treatment service in Melbourne

What Causes Anxiety

There are a range of factors that can contribute to increased anxiety symptoms. Increased stressors (work, family, obligations, relationship break downs), substances or medication (e.g. caffeine), and lifestyle and coping style can all impact anxiety. Furthermore, genetic, hormonal or temperamental predispositions, and/or trauma and developmental experiences can exacerbate anxiety and fear reactions.

Psychologically, whatever we are vulnerable to (whether that be social interactions, imperfection or not being good enough, certain underlying emotions or interactions) has the potential to evoke increased anxiety symptoms. Psychodynamic therapy often outlines a triangle of conflict. This model places defences and anxiety in the upper corners of the triangle. In the bottom part of the triangle are often feelings and/or experiences that we have defended away. If these feelings get too close to the surface they evoke or trigger anxiety. For example, too much relational closeness might activate a level of anxiety. Consequently, we might avoid or move away from too much social interaction.

Common Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety symptoms can manifest as physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioural patterns. Often these domains influence and reinforce each other. For example, we might have an anxious catastrophic thought that something bad will happen at work. This might lead to triple checking some basic documents and working extra hours to reduce the likelihood that we might be criticised or get something wrong. Anxiety Treatment helps us to understand and learn strategies to manage and shift through these symptoms and patterns.

  1. Increased worry and over-analysis to mitigate some crisis, conflict or potential catastrophe
  2. Hyper-vigilance and scanning
  3. Worry, fear, dread, uneasiness, and fretting
  4. Associated feelings of hopelessness/helplessness, frustration, irritability and tearfulness.
  5. States of cognitive conflict and difficulty making decisions
  6. Feeling tense and on edge
  7. Physical complaints such as increased heart rate, difficulty breathing headaches, stomach aches, feeling nauseous, over-heating, and sweating (that are not due to a medical condition).
  8. Increased avoidance, perfectionism, checking, and other safety behaviours
  9. Reassurance seeking and people pleasing
  10. Difficulty concentrating
  11. Disrupted sleep
  12. Increased alcohol or drug consumption to regulate heightened anxiety

Anxiety Treatment Melbourne

We all operate in fear-based ways at different points in our life depending on what is going on. At Core Life Psychology, I treat anxiety issues and anxiety disorders with evidence-based psychological therapies. First, as part of this process I help clients to identify potential factors that might be contributing to their anxiety. Second, we aim to implement a plan to help manage and work through anxiety symptoms that are impacting your life.

Often the first step is to better understand what anxiety and worry are and how they operate. Knowledge can help us to make sense of and be less alarmed by our anxiety. Next therapy teaches us to let go of over-thinking and worrying. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) terms this cognitive defusion. This is a set of strategies and metaphors to help us step back and observe our worries rather than being entangled in them.

In addition, anxiety therapy and counselling often teaches people strategies of relaxation, mindfulness, and ways to slow down and connect with emotion and the body. By doing this we learn to down-regulate and adjust the state of the nervous system.

In conjunction with this, exposure and behavioural experiments are often specifically designed for you. These strategies help you to take on new challenges and let go of unhelpful safety behaviours that interfere with your life.

Furthermore, effective treatment often involves processing underlying conflicts, beliefs, and our most feared situations. Re-appraising situations can often lead to states of calm and reductions in anxiety. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) helps us to explore ways to thought processes impact our emotional state. I collaborate with people to explore the primary thought patterns that might be impacting their anxiety. Once these have been identified we can explore alternative and more helpful thought patterns. By turning our mindset to particular qualities of being supported, loved, capable etc we can often switch out of anxiety readily. Finally, by filtering through rules, assumptions, core beliefs, and old attachment styles we can start to build greater security in our day to day life. If you are after anxiety treatment in Melbourne then call today to see how I can help.

Benefits of Psychological Treatment for Anxiety

  • Improved coping skills to manage anxiety

  • Reduction in the frequency and intensity of anxiety symptoms

  • Enhanced self-awareness and understanding of one’s thought patterns

  • Tools to prevent relapse and maintain long-term well-being

  • Improved overall mental and emotional well-being

What to Expect During Therapy

  • Initial Assessment and Meeting: Here we will discuss your initial concerns and what you want to work on.
  • Goal Setting: Together we will set treatment focus, goals, and a customized treatment plan.
  • Formulation: Over the course of treatment we discuss what is called a formulation. This includes the factors and particular patterns that might be maintaining your presenting issues.
  • Therapy Sessions: Therapy from the get go – therapy typically involves regular one-on-one sessions with your psychologist. The frequency and duration of therapy may vary based on your specific needs. In session we focus on shifting unhelpful thought patterns, actions, and emotional experience.

  • Practicing Changes: In between sessions you will be provided with ideas, strategies, and exercises to practice. This helps to reinforce what comes up in session. Over sessions we will monitor and track your progress

  • Maintenance: After the initial phase of therapy, you may engage in occasional “booster” sessions to maintain progress and address any relapses. The door is always open to come back and discuss things.

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy

Challenge the thoughts and belief systems that are linked to your anxiety and fear. Cultivate a mindset and way of exploring your thoughts that can lead to improved mood, energy, and relationships.

Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy

Bypass and loosen old defences, find ways out of experience such as hopelessness and shame, and tap in to pathways that facilitate healing, transformation, clarity, and security.

Attachment Styles

Are you operating from a secure stance or an insecure stance? Attachment patterns can help to inform us what we do in relationships, why we do it, and how to build greater security, connection, and yes autonomy.

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