Anxiety Counselling and Therapy
Anxiety is common and affects approximately 1 in 10 of us at some point during our lives. Anxiety is a generic term commonly used to describe several specific anxiety based disorders. The most common ones are:
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Individuals with generalised anxiety often find themselves worrying on a daily basis over a range of issues. The frequency and extent of the worrying and anxiety may feel out of control.
Health Anxiety: Individuals with health anxiety tend to worry excessively about their health to the detriment of other aspects of their life. Frequent concerns and preoccupations with illness and disease may cause significant emotional and psychological distress.
Social Anxiety (Social Phobia): Individuals with social anxiety have an intense and often overwhelming fear relating to social situations. These can include; public speaking, talking to strangers, participating in group conversations and eating or drinking with company. Individuals often fear they will 'say or do the wrong thing' and humiliate themselves.
Panic: Panic attacks can occur when an individual perceives that they do not have the necessary skills and resources to adequately cope with a threatening or stressful situation. The combination of intense psychological and physical symptoms can sometimes lead to a sense of feeling out of control.
Agrophobia: Individuals with agrophobia have a fear of being in situations where there is no easy escape or help is not readily available should they need it. Common examples include; travelling on public transport, going shopping or being in an open space. If confronted with these situations, individuals may experience symptoms of heightened anxiety such as hyperventilation, increased heart rate and feeling hot and sweaty.
Phobia's: Individuals with a phobia have an intense fear of something whether it be a place, object, situation or animal. More than just a fear, individuals will actively avoid anything which may bring them into contact with the cause of their phobia as to do so can cause great anxiety.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder have obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. For some people these may be fairly mild and have minimal impact on their day to day lives. However for others, symptoms may be severe and have a significant detrimental impact.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Individuals may develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after being involved in or witnessing a particularly threatening, frightening, distressing or traumatic event. Examples may include; military combat, assault/violent crime or a road traffic accident. PTSD can develop days, weeks, months or even years even the event. Individuals will often experience flashbacks, nightmares and actively avoid any potential reminders of the traumatic event.
Symptoms of all anxiety disorders may include:
Increased heart rate
Hyperventilation, rapid shallow breathing
Difficulty in relaxing
Preoccupation with the fear/cause of the anxiety
Avoidance of the fear/cause of the anxiety
Feelings of apprehension or dread
Feeling tense, jumpy, irritable, agitated
How therapy can help?
Whatever the specific type of anxiety and regardless of whether it has been life-long or developed recently, anxiety can be a debilitating disorder. Talking to a trained professional in a safe and confidential environment can provide the opportunity to share your fears and worries, explore the impact they are having on you, identify the potential causes, look at alternative ways of managing and develop more awareness of how to manage potential triggers and relapses in the future.
If you feel it would be helpful to speak with a therapist, please contact me
Exercise - Regular exercise can be beneficial as this allows the brain to release natural feel good endorphins which can help to lift mood and lessen symptoms of anxiety. Exercise also provides our bodies and minds with a distraction from the anxiety and a more positive focus for our energies. It can be anything from a walk around the block to taking up a new sport.
Relaxation - Learning how to relax and giving ourselves time to switch off is important as as it gives the body and mind time to rest, renew and replenish. Relaxation can include many activities such as; breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, swimming, meditation, mindfulness, watching your favourite film or taking a long hot bath.
Diet - Dietary factors can be important and a few simple changes may help. Try to maintain a regular healthy and balanced diet and reduce overly sugary foods and drinks. Caffiene and alcohol are known stimulants and taken to excess can increase our heart rate and disturb sleep.
"I am 69 years old and have been dogged by anxiety since childhood. Through our work together Wendy helped me manage my anxiety, challenge my fears and avoidance of the unknown and DO IT! She was irksomely good at getting me to stop talking about doing something, overcome my fear of the unknown and do it! Wendy's approach is laid back, sympathetic, non judgemental whilst being alert to anything significant. She was firm, with a smile and I needed someone to give me a nudge. I'm glad she did. I am presently attending art classes which I had avoided for years and enjoying them and planning what to do next. I strongly recommend her services".
Mary age 69
"I have suffered with severe anxiety for most of my life, through therapy I have learnt how to think differently and work through the problem. Wendy has also taught me mindful breathing which has helped me calm down so I can think things through rationally, something I could not do before I started the work. I have no hesitation in recommending Wendy in helping you to live a more enjoyable life".
Jim age 45