Whether you had a really bad counseling experience in the past, or you just haven’t really known anyone who is able to testify to the results, you are probably asking yourself the question: Does anxiety counseling work?
Anxiety counseling can easily be something that is misunderstood and not utilized to its fullest potential and there are all sorts of things on the internet that are unfortunately not accurate. We want to take some time to unpack some truths about anxiety counseling, and why it really does work time and time again.
Anxiety Counselors are skillfully trained to assist you in sorting through emotions and experiences to help a patient better understand what initially triggered the anxiety in the first place. Extensive studies have shown that cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, has regularly generated positive results that show significant improvement for those struggling with anxiety disorders.
Contrary to the belief that anxiety counseling is a waste of time, there are numerous benefits to choosing this kind of therapy.
What Are The Benefits Of Anxiety Counseling?
You Get Answers To Your Questions — When you start getting counseling for your anxiety, the counselor will be able to start answering all of the questions that have been lingering in your mind ever since you first started struggling with this kind of disorder.
A counselor will be able to unpack those questions and help navigate you to where you first started seeing signs of anxiety and will do so in a way that is comfortable for you. Counselors understand that this information is extremely private, and know what questions to ask you, and what areas to avoid.
If you finally want answers in the midst of so much uncertainty, anxiety counseling is the perfect first step.
You Get To Fully Express Yourself — Those who are struggling with anxiety usually feel misunderstood and extremely vulnerable. Victims of this disorder are often extremely hesitant to share and can often get even more anxiety at the thought of having to express themselves to anyone about what they are feeling.
Anxiety counselors are aware of this and are extremely sensitive to it. They take your anxiety very seriously and want to hear your version of what is going on.
In this kind of environment, you can feel completely free to express yourself to the fullest because you are finally in a safe place. No more having to worry about getting judged or not taken seriously when sharing about your struggles. Instead, you can expect to feel extreme relief and warm encouragement on how to walk through your next steps. All you have to do is trust that the counselor has your best interest in mind.
You Learn What Activates Your Anxiety — Anxiety is usually triggered by a series of particular outside events that start a chain reaction in the patient’s mind. This escalates more and more until the anxiety fully manifests in outward expression.
An anxiety counselor will be able to help you identify these kinds of triggers and walk you through exactly how to avoid them if possible. They will also be able to give you advice on what to do if you start to feel certain sensations in your body so you will be on guard against an oncoming attack.
Knowing these things will give you an advantage in overcoming your anxiety, and help you understand why you going through what you are going through.
You Learn How To Cope With Your Anxiety — Anxiety is not fun. In fact, it is extremely uncomfortable and is quite frankly a terrible thing to go through. As a result, many patients start trying to find short term solutions to help temporarily calm their episodes but are unsuccessful.
While a quick fix may be able to suppress certain symptoms for a small period of time, you are ultimately just prolonging an inevitable recurrence of anxiety that could possibly be even worse.
Anxiety therapists will be able to help you identify alternative solutions that are much more healthy and have a proven track record of reducing the symptoms of anxiety. If you choose this route, you can be confident in the counselor’s knowledge and expertise instead of trying to take things into your own hands.
You Learn How To Treat Your Anxiety — Anxiety therapists have spent years training and learning about a wide variety of tools and techniques that can help you fight against what you are going through. Some of these techniques include:
- Breathing Exercises
- Mindfulness Techniques
- Body Relaxation Exercises
- Visualization Techniques
CBT or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is one of the most effective ways of dealing with anxiety disorders, and a counselor will be able to walk you through exactly how to utilize these kinds of techniques so that you can feel the immediate effects.
What Should I Expect At An Anxiety Counseling Appointment?
Every therapist has a unique personality and qualifications, so each appointment might look a little bit different. However, there is a basic structure that most first time patients will experience when going to a therapy appointment for the very first time. That structure may look something like this:
Greeting — In the beginning, the therapist will probably start off by greeting you and working their way into normal small talk. Nobody wants to dive straight into extremely serious topics, so it’s important that the patient recognizes that the counselor is human too as quickly as possible. The therapist will usually make sure that you are seated comfortably and you are settled in.
Basic Questions — From there, the counselor will probably begin to ask you some questions based on the intake papers that you would have filled out prior to your first appointment. The therapist is able to glean different perspectives and insights based on body language and emotional response than they will be able to get just from reading your information from a page.
Depending on the counselor’s practice and preference, you might be asked to fill out some paperwork when you arrive for your first visit, rather than beforehand.
Evaluation — After the initial paperwork has been filled out and basic questions have been asked, the counselor will most likely move on to some second layer questions that help them get a better understanding of you, your life and some goals you may have.
In addition, if things like your workplace, family relationships, romantic relationships, substance abuse or living situation didn’t get addressed in the paperwork you have filled out, the therapist will generally ask you to elaborate more on these types of areas.
While patients may think there are some things or information that aren’t relevant or important to the sessions, but an anxiety counselor is often able to find direct correlations between this information and the triggers of your anxiety.
Plan Of Action — Once all of this has been discussed, your first appointment will probably be drawing to a close, but the therapist will want to confirm some kind of action plan for moving forward with further appointments.
This will be achieved by talking with you about setting some very specific goals that you can work towards. The therapist will want to monitor progress on these goals as you continue on with your sessions in the future.
After all of this is said and done, the counselor will probably ask if you as the patient have any questions for them. This will most likely conclude your very first therapy appointment.
How Do I Get The Most Out Of My First Anxiety Counseling Appointment?
Find The Right Anxiety Counselor
When attempting to find solutions for an anxiety disorder, you need to find the therapist that is the right fit for you. While there are a lot of therapists out there, it doesn’t mean that one size fits all and that you will click with every single one.
When you find a counselor, you should be able to feel like yourself and have a welcoming feeling when sitting down with them. This is honestly not scientific, but more just a feeling of what feels like the right fit for you.
You might not know right away if the counselor is the perfect fit, so it may take a couple of sessions. This is completely normal, so don’t be hard on yourself if you feel the need to switch after only a few appointments.
Be Ready To Feel Uncomfortable
While finding the right counselor and feeling comfortable with them is important, it is vital for you to understand that you shouldn’t get the feeling of be uncomfortable with a therapist and simply feeling uncomfortable confused with each other.
The reason for this is because when you are sharing personal information with someone, it is anything but comfortable. Having an understanding that this is a normal part of the counseling process is vital for you and the results you get from regular counseling sessions.
Take Time For Self Reflection
Lastly, take some time to think through what you are feeling in advance. There are no dumb questions when it comes to counseling and no part of your story that you should be embarrassed about.
The more you are able to sort through your thoughts and try to sift through all of the information, the more the counselor will be able to understand where you are coming from. Doing this will prepare you for the best possible outcome at your appointment.
We hope you have found this information helpful and that it has helped reveal the truths about anxiety counseling and how it truly does make a difference in patients’ lives. If you are interested in finding out more information about anxiety counseling, contact a local therapist today!