Anxiety Counseling and Therapy
By Dr. John D. Moore and 2nd Story Staff
Are you searching for a therapist to help you with anxiety therapy and counseling in Chicago? Are you trying to better understand how anxiety impacts your life? Do you find yourself struggling with panic attacks, excessive worrying, phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder?
If you answered yes to these questions, you are not alone. While the numbers are somewhat scattered, the current statistics suggest that upwards of 40 million people in the United States live with some form of anxiety, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Anxiety as a Life Barrier
Anxiety, believe it or not, does serve a very human function. I like to tell people to think of their own anxiety as nature’s way of keeping us on our toes.
The issue for most people is when anxiety starts to become problematic, interfering with basic activities of daily living. If you have ever had a panic attack for example and fear experiencing more of them in the future, you may avoid certain places or activities that act as triggers.
In psychology speak, this means you may have panic disorder with agoraphobia. Some people become so impacted by anxiety that it can even cause them to experience a phenomenon known as derealization.
Anxiety can also interfere in your life if you are a person who has obsessive, intrusive thoughts. If you feel compelled to compensate for these thoughts by going through a number of rituals, such as counting, tapping or annunciating a phrase, you may have obsessive compulsive disorder.
The key question is: Does my anxiety interfere in my ability to live the life I want?
Six Primary Anxiety Types
Anxiety Counseling Targets 6 Types
Generally speaking, there are 6 primary types of anxiety that we try to educate our Chicago therapy clients about. We have published an extensive page on the entire topic, which you can access by clicking on the link.
Just to recap, here are the six primary types:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia
- Specific Phobias
- Social Anxiety/Social Phobia
Anxiety Counseling Chicago Realities
Unfortunately, there are more than a few people online who claim to have the “magic elixir” to cure your anxiety. Here’s the truth – there’s no such thing as a quick fix. Human emotions don’t work that way.
And while there are certainly methods and treatments that can help to alleviate and reduce symptoms, it’s simply not possible to somehow “wand it away”. I wrote about this on my blog at Psychcentral in a post about 10 things that make anxiety worse. FYI: The same holds true for other feelings, such as depression.
Anxiety Counseling Helps to Change Thinking
It has been my experience that how we think about anxiety has a direct relationship to how we react. Here, I am talking about our reactions to panic attacks, social phobias and so forth. Once we learn how to change our relationship with anxiety, which is primarily a function of our thoughts, we can then move about the business of reducing our fears.
One effective way to do this is by partaking in one of several different types of cognitive behavioral therapies that target anxiety. I hope you will take time to read more about these by visiting the previously provided link.
The Anxiety Wave
Anxiety Counseling Helps to Stop the Wave
Several of us here at 2nd Story Counseling have compared anxiety to a wave. Follow me for a moment with the analogy. You see the more we try to control anxiety or it or put it out of our mind, the more power we give it. Over the course of time, that energy grows – larger and larger – until it overwhelms us.
This is why well intentioned suggestions from others aren’t effective. If you have ever been told to “chill out” or “calm down” by a family member or friend, you know exactly what I am talking about.
And if you try to put your thoughts out of your mind, as many people suggest, you are unintentionally empowering the anxiety wave. Some people refer to this as “thought stopping”. At one time, this was considered to be an effective behavioral approach to arresting anxiety. Given recent research however, we now know that trying to pause or stop a thought only feeds the wave mentioned earlier.
Example: If I told you to not think about pink bears with polka dots, did you find that it stopped the thoughts? I think I have made my point. Sorry you have this mental imagery in your mind.
If you are a person who has lived with anxiety for a long time, you probably already recognize that anxiety and its friend, stress, aren’t computer chips that can be yanked from your circuit board.
If you have been holding onto this belief or are still searching for “the cure”, you might want to re-think your approach. This is particularly true if you have used drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism (see our page on addiction and substance abuse).
Anxiety Counseling Chicago Help
What Can I Do About My Anxiety?
Educating yourself as much as you can about anxiety is probably the most important thing you can do as you walk towards a place of healing.
If you live in Chicago, be sure to learn some of the specifics surrounding why stress and anxiety can become compounded by living in a large city such as ours.
Other resources include:
- The Anxiety and Depression Association of America
- Association of Behavioral & Cognitive Therapies
- International OCD Foundation
Anxiety Counseling Chicago, Illinois
Finally, we hope you consider partaking in some form of therapy for anxiety with the Chicago therapists at 2nd Story Counseling. We want to be your partners in wellness.
To learn more about how counseling can help you, give us a call at 773.528.1777 or send us a confidential email using our contact form.
Thanks for stopping by!