What To Expect When You See An Anxiety Therapist
Around 40 million Americans have an anxiety disorder, making it the most common type of mental illness. And if you get overly anxious about going to the dentist, meeting new people, going to a job interview or anything else, you know how dramatically it can affect your life. There are some signs that will tell you when it may be time to talk to an anxiety therapist.
As a general rule, it’s probably time to see an anxiety therapist if your anxiety or fears are affecting your everyday life. If you feel that your health is being compromised because of your anxiety, or it’s affecting your productivity at work or your relationship, then it’s time to take action. Putting off going to the dentist or doctor because of anxiety or fear obviously isn’t a good thing, and it drives the point home that anxiety literally can affect your health, and even take years off your life.
But what should you expect if you make the decision to consult with an anxiety therapist? Firstly, it’s important to understand that results may not be instantaneous, and how long it takes partly depends on the level of your anxiety. Anxiety therapy is intended to be a long term solution to an underlying problem, and not an immediate fix and you should expect at least several visits. As with most visits to a counsellor or therapist, the first session is more of an introductory one, and focuses on getting to know you and your background. Of course, you should also be prepared to complete what may seem like an excessive amount of paperwork.
Anxiety therapy will typically focus on the underlying cause of your anxiety and how best to treat it, and there are different methods of doing that. Discussing the emotional problems that are caused by the anxiety is an important part of what is known as CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy. This technique also identifies triggers that cause anxiety, and helps to devise strategies to cope with those triggers in the future. Another way to cope with anxiety is to confront the situation or thing that makes you anxious; this is carried out in a controlled way and is often known as behavioral therapy. Your therapist may also recommend the use of hypnosis, which has been proven to be effective in treating disorders ranging from fear of flying to a fear of needles.
It’s important to work with a therapist whom you feel comfortable with; not all therapists are the same, although most are caring, discrete and genuinely want to help. Seeing an anxiety therapist can be emotionally draining for many, and embarrassing for most people. Keep in mind that most will offer a free initial consultation which is the perfect time not only to ask questions but to determine they are a good fit. Don’t forget the financial side of things if you plan to see an anxiety therapist, and check with your insurance company as to whether any sessions, procedures or medication are covered.
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