Anxiety is a common experience that many people face at some point in their lives. But anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. They manifest as excessive worry, fear, or nervousness that doesn’t go away and can get worse over time. Anxiety disorders can interfere with daily activities like work, school and relationships and impact overall well-being. Fortunately, psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is a highly effective treatment option for managing and overcoming anxiety.
There are different types of psychotherapy that can be effective for anxiety:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is evidence-based and considered to be the gold standard intervention for anxiety disorders. CBT focuses on identifying and challenging distorted cognitive patterns and beliefs. Through a structured framework, patients are taught coping mechanisms and problem-solving skills. Cognitive Behavioral therapy is typically short-term lasting up to five months.
- Exposure Therapy: Exposure therapy is a behavioral therapy technique commonly used to treat specific phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It involves exposing an individual to the feared or traumatic ideas or objects in a controlled, gradual manner. The goal is to desensitize the individual’s fear response and help them learn that the feared situation or object is not as dangerous as perceived. This can reduce fear and avoidance behaviors.
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): This form therapy focuses on accepting one’s thoughts and feelings instead of trying to control or eliminate them. It helps to develop psychological flexibility. ACT emphasizes mindfulness and teaches individuals to live in the present moment. It encourages them to clarify their values and commit to actions that align with those values.
- Mindfulness-based Therapies: Mindfulness-based approaches, such as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), combine mindfulness practices including learning to be in the present without judgement, identifying and challenging negative thought patterns and managing symptoms with cognitive techniques. It is often used with medication and other types of therapy.
- Interpersonal Therapy: Anxiety can severely interfere with a person’s ability to function at school, work and in social situations. Interpersonal therapy is another evidence-based psychotherapy for anxiety, with a focus on how you relate to others and how to make positive changes to improve your personal relationships and communication. It is based on the idea that interpersonal conflicts and disruptions can contribute to or exacerbate the symptoms of anxiety.
Psychotherapy offers numerous benefits for individuals struggling with anxiety:
- Empowerment: It empowers you with the tools to take control of your anxiety and make positive changes in your life.
- Long-lasting Results: Psychotherapy focuses on addressing the root causes of anxiety, leading to lasting improvements.
- Medication-Free: Many people find relief through psychotherapy without the need for medication.
- Improved Quality of Life: Overcoming anxiety can lead to a better quality of life, with improved relationships, work performance, and overall well-being.
Psychotherapy is a collaborative process between you and a trained therapist. It provides a safe and supportive environment to explore your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors related to anxiety.
- It can help to identify situations or thoughts that trigger your anxiety, which is the first step toward learning to manage triggers.
- You’ll learn effective coping strategies to deal with anxiety when it arises. These strategies may include deep breathing exercises, mindfulness techniques, or progressive muscle relaxation.
- Negative thought patterns often contribute to anxiety. Through psychotherapy, you’ll work on changing these patterns to more positive and constructive ones.
- Your therapist will help you set achievable goals for managing anxiety. These goals will provide a sense of direction and progress in your journey towards relief.
Psychotherapy is a valuable and effective tool for managing and overcoming anxiety. It provides a structured and supportive environment to address the root causes of anxiety, develop coping strategies, and ultimately lead to a happier, more balanced life. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, contact Mercie Health.
Mercie Health is a psychiatric and wellness clinic in Katy, Texas. We take a humane and personalized approach to treating mental health disorders. Stigma is associated with mental health disorders and can keep a person from seeking help. Don’t let stigma create self-doubt and shame. You will always be treated with respect and dignity at Mercie Health. Contact us to schedule a consultation to learn more about anxiety, receive the correct diagnosis and all your treatment options.
At a Glance
Dr. Sylvia Udokoro Nwakanma
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
- Double Board Certified in Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC) and Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP-C)
- SAMSHA Certified Addictions Nurse Practitioner
- Learn more