Stress Counselling in London & Online

Stress is synonymous with our modern lifestyle. Feeling under pressure, tension, and nervousness, are some of its side effects. Concentration problems, feeling on the verge of collapse, and intense anxiety affect millions of people worldwide due to stress.

It’s now more important than ever to discuss stress counselling and how you can start reducing the amount of stress you are experiencing. This is not something you should hide or ignore, as stress tends to accumulate. If left unchecked, you increase your chances to develop more serious psychological issues.

If you’d like to talk about what you are experiencing, at Therapy Central we have many stress therapists who can help you address your issues. Contact us for a free 15-minute phone consultation, as your first step towards an effective stress therapy plan.

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Burnout Syndrome treatment

What is Stress?

Stress is a set of psychological and physiological reactions to change. When you change your workplace, you might experience some stress before getting used to the new office. When you start living independently, you experience a lot of stress. Finally, drastic changes such as divorce, bereavement or sudden unemployment might stress you out extremely.

What are the different types of Stress?

Stress sometimes makes us stronger. Other times it seriously weakens us. This is why we differentiate between:

Eustress

This is the so-called “good stress”. Imagine that you have to give a speech in front of a large crowd. Understandably, you will be very tense and nervous about this event. If the tension is not too high, this feeling might actually help you deliver a good speech by increasing your overall arousal and energy. Of course, it can also go the other way around, which is:

Distress

This is the more commonly discussed type of stress. Most of the time, stress affects you negatively: it reduces the quality of your performance. It makes you experience unpleasant emotions, thoughts and physical sensations. This is the type we’ll discuss the most on this page.

What are the signs and symptoms of Stress?

Stress is a set of relatively unspecific and diverse reactions to changes in circumstances, whether at work, in personal relationships, or in other areas of life. It can include a variety of symptoms such as:

Psychological symptoms of stress

  • Unpleasant racing thoughts
  • Constant worries
  • Lack of motivation & drive
  • Memory issues
  • Mental fatigue
  • Lack of concentration & focus
  • Confusion

Physical symptoms of stress

There are also some typical physical symptoms of stress:

  • Tension
  • Headache
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Stomach pain
  • Nervous stomach
  • Racing heart (tachycardia)
  • Chest pain
  • Feeling jittery
  • Chills and other sensations
  • Changes in sex drive

Yes, stress can cause stomach pain and other physical issues. Stress diarrhoea and incontinence are also possible. Some people develop stress-rash or similar physical responses.

Behavioural signs of Stress

  • Avoidance of stressful situations
  • Social withdrawal
  • Restlessness 
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Tremor (e.g. shaky hands)
  • Chronic and compulsive lip-biting/nail biting
  • Skin picking/hair pulling
  • Grinding teeth/jaw clenching
  • Drug or Alcohol use

Emotional signs of Stress

  • Anxiety
  • Frustration & Anger
  • Emotional instability 
  • Nervousness
  • Agitation
  • Depression & Low mood

What causes Stress?

There are numerous possible causes of stress:

  • Marital/Couples issues
  • Lifestyle change
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Financial difficulties
  • Unexpected life changes
  • Increased workloads

Physiologically speaking, stress is caused by high cortisol levels in your body, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands.

How is Stress Maintained?

If left unchecked, stress is likely to form a vicious circle. Imagine that you are having some relationship issues but are opting to avoid addressing the problem with your partner. By ignoring them, they’re likely to “stack up” and, in turn, cause more problems. For instance, you might try to inject new life into your marriage by booking an exotic holiday. Still, because your relationship issues were never addressed, the trip might quickly turn into a nightmare of arguments. This, in turn, creates more stress for you and risks further undermining your relationship.

 

Stress makes us feel uncomfortable, and it might be tempting to find easy yet counterproductive solutions, like self-medication and substance use (such as alcohol). Although in the short term, you might feel a sense of relief, stress and what’s causing it aren’t going to be solved. Even stress medications such as anxiolytics and sedatives may be helpful in the short term. Still, their benefits are often short-lived and come with side effects.

 

In other cases, we try to avoid facing stress simply by suppressing thoughts and feelings related to it. For example, you might try to avoid sensitive topics such as your most recent breakup or that missed promotion opportunity at work that disappointed you. Some people do the exact opposite, zooming in on stress and trying to solve all problems with brute force (e.g., forcing a reconciliation).

What’s the difference between Stress and Anxiety?

We sometimes use these terms as synonyms, although they are actually different. 

Anxiety is an emotion that is close to apprehension and worry and is usually manifested with fears turned toward the future. Anxiety’s worries are persistent, even in the absence of a particular trigger. As a set of emotional, psychological and physiological responses, anxiety can be experienced when you are stressed. Nonetheless, its origins tend to be internal; thus, unlike stress, anxiety can be triggered by non-threatening situations, and it continues even when the troublesome circumstances are no longer present.

Stress is, as mentioned, a group of psychological and physiological reactions to change (environmental, psychological, etc.), which may be very similar to what happens with anxiety. Nonetheless, the origins of stress are different, as they tend to be external. For example, facing a very tight deadline at work, moving home or a relationship breakup. 

While we are anxious about the future, we are usually stressed due to changes in our environment. Stress is more about difficulties adapting to a situation, while anxiety is about excessive and continuous apprehension and worries. 

Most importantly, stress is ubiquitous – we experience it daily – while Anxiety Disorders, such as Panic Disorder or Social Anxiety,are somewhat less common and more severe. 

How do I get help if I think I am stressed?

First and foremost, you’d want to address the stressors. For instance, if you sleep very little and this makes you feel frustrated, tense, and nervous, the logical solution would be to take steps to get more sleep. Nowadays, we do many things that impede our sleep, such as using technology while in bed, binge-watching TV shows, etc. Removing these is likely to improve the quality of our sleep and make us less stressed.

Sometimes, you simply cannot tackle the stressors. This is when you might have to adapt and find alternative ways to overcome the pressure, which is most effectively done with the help of a mental health expert.

When should I seek therapy for Stress?

You should seek counselling for stress as soon as you realise that you are feeling intense tension and that the problem won’t go away on its own. This is especially the case with chronic stressors that tend to produce numerous relatively stressful situations, which add to form sometimes insurmountable amounts of pressure. 

Some people, for example, get very stressed out due to traffic jams and the daily commute. Although finding a new job closer to you might solve the issue, it’s not always possible nor necessary to go to such lengths. Usually, it would be much better to find someone to talk to, express your emotions, and learn strategies to manage your stress reaction. 

The rule of the thumb is: don’t allow stress to accumulate. If you notice that stress has started affecting how you function (i.e., professionally, socially), it’s time to ask for help.

Does Therapy Help with Stress?

According to the NHS [1], counselling for stress is indeed effective and should be the primary tool in stopping the accumulation of stressful experiences. There is abundant evidence showing that psychological support can help manage stress and reduce overall stress levels.

How is Stress Treated?

There are many ways to treat stress – a CBT approach is the most researched method to improve stress management, resilience, and self-efficacy [2]

CBT for stress management relies on a relatively structured approach consisting of:

  • Psychoeducation (learning about what causes stress)
  • Learning how to identify negative, unhelpful thoughts and how they affect you
  • Relaxation exercises (mindful breathing; progressive muscle relaxation)
  • Learning that our interpretations of events produce our emotional responses, not events themselves
  • Learning cognitive and behavioural strategies to break the cycle of stress

Stress CBT - Vicious Cycle

Anger management therapy and assertiveness training can become essential components of stress management. Frequently, the stress levels go up because we don’t know how to manage our anger or assert ourselves.

A related and effective way to treat stress is via Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). This school of thought is associated with CBT. However, ACT relies more on concepts like mindfulness and working with unpleasant thoughts instead of attempting to eliminate them altogether. ACT is about helping you live a life more aligned with your values and thus more fulfilling overall. 

Whereas CBT focuses mainly on controlling stressors, negative thoughts and behavioural change, ACT is more about adopting a different viewpoint and learning to accept and work with the inevitability of stress while improving your quality of life. For instance, classical CBT for stress focuses on rational and logical disproving of negative thoughts related to stressful reactions. On the other hand, ACT employs other tools like metaphors, such as the famous “Don’t think about a white elephant” metaphor, helping us learn that we often aren’t in control of our thoughts and that this is not a catastrophe. 

Nowadays, therapists are very often integrating techniques coming from various theoretical viewpoints. Our therapists will draw on various techniques tailored around your unique circumstances.

What are the benefits of therapy for Stress?

Stress treatment will help you improve your well-being in numerous ways:

  • Feeling less tense
  • Greater emotional stability
  • Sharper focus and better performances
  • Better sleep
  • Reduced irritability
  • Improved relationships
  • Greater sense of agency over your life

Counselling for stress can help you feel less “keyed up”, on “edge”, or on the verge of collapse. It will also provide a different perspective, helping you realise that it’s how you think about and handle stress and stressors that ultimately determine your emotional reactions. 

By committing to stress therapy, you are at the same time committing to stop the vicious circle of stress. Instead of avoiding stress and resorting to suppressing all thoughts related to stress, you’ll learn how to address it in more meaningful and helpful ways. You’ll also learn how to recognise the good side of stress (eustress) – finding a new home, for instance, can be very stressful but exciting and life-giving at the same time!

How long does Counselling for Stress last?

The length of treatment varies depending on the severity of stress symptoms. According to the NHS, CBT treatment generally lasts for around 12 sessions. However, you can already see some improvements after 6 or even 4 sessions.

Sometimes, the problems are more severe, and that’s when stress counselling can unfold over more extended periods of time.

Does online therapy work for stress?

Online stress therapy can be a very convenient way to treat stress, and, most importantly, research has shown that even relatively short online stress interventions have the potential to reduce the intensity of symptoms [3]. More specifically, three CBT or ACT sessions delivered over two weeks decreased stress levels by up to 42%! 

Tips to get you started managing Stress

There are many things you can do to start feeling better even before you find a stress counsellor:

  • Regular exercise (especially effective against stress-related insomnia)
  • Healthy diet
  • Rest and have fun (having a hobby, quality social time)
  • Removing stressors (if this is possible and viable – sometimes you simply cannot remove stressors)
  • Talk about how you feel with a trusted person
  • Take time to pause and observe your internal reactions (e.g., with mindfulness or yoga)

These will especially be effective against mild symptoms of stress. However, if you are experiencing chronic tension, frustration, and nervousness, it would be advisable to seek help from a mental health professional.

Our Therapists Specialised in Stress Counselling

All of our therapists are qualified psychologists, psychotherapists or counsellors registered with several professional bodies. These include the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), the British Psychological Society (BPS), as well as, BACP, UKCP and BABCP.

Our therapists use CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), psychodynamic, humanistic and integrative approaches tailored around your needs to help you deal with your unique challenges and reach your goals.

Dr. Sheetal Dandgey

Clinical Director, Counselling Psychologist

Dr. Anna Hovris

Counselling Psychologist

Dr. Samantha Harris

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Karin Kihlberg

Counselling Psychologist

Dr Bertha Rogers

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Alana Whitlock

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Yasmeen Jaina

Counselling Psychologist

Panos Vythoulkas

Senior Clinical Psychologist

Tatum Aspeling

Clinical Psychologist

Dr Gail Freedman

Counselling Psychologist

Dr. Caroline Tovey

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Andrew Aboud

Counselling Psychologist

Marisa Poggioli

Counselling Psychologist

Dr. Lynelle Roberts

Counselling Psychologist

Dr. Josephine Swede

Counselling Psychologist

Rebecca Leakey

Psychotherapist

Dr Sara Chaudhrey

Counselling Psychologist

Ben Dustin

Psychotherapist

Dr Sidra Chaudhry

Counselling Psychologist

Mary O'Byrne

Psychotherapist & Supervisor

Maryam Keshavarz

Psychotherapist

Yifat Hollander

Counselling Psychologist

Dr Moyosore Adofo

Counselling Psychologist

Stacie Hill

CBT Psychotherapist

Dr Margot Brink

Counselling Psychologist

Dr Joanne Warren

Clinical Psychologist

Dr Lydia Garmon-Jones

Clinical Psychologist

Anita Sommers

Psychotherapist

Dr Joanne Livingston

Counselling Psychologist

Emily Pitman

Integrative Counsellor

Dr Daren Lee

Counselling Psychologist

Dr Soha Daru

Counselling Psychologist

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Testimonials

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Therapist l had was absolutely brilliant with me. He had patience with me and bit by bit l gained a little of confidence to try and get out and go on the buses.

He deserves an award and if l could l would in the beginning l thought how is this person going to get me back on public transport but he did he gave me the confidence l lost and now have back.

I will never forget him and what he has done for me. I wish him nothing but the best in his life.

(Patricia)

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My therapist was excellent. I highly recommend her and I am truly thankful for my sessions, I left feeling confident and positive.

The mental tools, systems and approaches I have been able to develop with her and use in my life have been hugely beneficial.

Thank you to all at Therapy Central.

(John)

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Therapist really gave me the space to talk and express my feelings and fears in a very comforting environment.

She was there not only to listen, but challenge my thinking, guide me during the uncertainty I was experiencing and give me useful and practical tips to improve my mental health and wellbeing. Highly recommended!

(George)

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Working with the therapist has been a life-changing experience. Each session has been invaluable, helping me gain a good understanding of CBT methodology enabling me to incorporate ways to combat stress and anxiety in my daily life.

The Therapist shows that she really cares and has the ability to make you feel calm whilst discussing any personal issue. 

(Richard)

Fees & Insurances

Therapy, Counselling and CBT sessions are 50 minutes long and are usually held at regular weekly time slots.

Free
15 Minute initial
Phone consultation

£75 -£95
Psychological Therapy/
Counselling (Self-funded)

£105 - £120
Couples Therapy/
Family Therapy

Covered by
Your Private Healthcare Insurance Provider

All of our therapists are registered with several insurance providers, such as AXA PPP, Simplyhealth, Aviva, Cigna (UK/US), Vitality and WPA. If you wish to use your personal or employee private healthcare insurance to cover your sessions, please highlight this in your contact form below.

Stress Therapy in London & Online

Although stress is a part of our everyday lives, it’s not something to ignore. Talking about stress is crucial, and this is precisely what we are doing at Therapy Central. We have numerous stress counsellors who can support you to alleviate the pressure you are experiencing while also helping you learn how not to let stress accumulate in the future. 

Get professional help and stress counselling in London & Online today. Contact us for a free 15 min consultation with a therapist to see if our help would fit your needs. You can also get in touch via email at info@therapy-central.com or call us at (+44) 020 348 82797.

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    FAQ

    What happens after I make an enquiry?

    After receiving your enquiry we’ll contact you to organise a FREE phone consultation. You will be able to tell us more about your specific circumstances and needs and ask any questions you have. Then, if you want to proceed with therapy or counselling, we’ll match you with the therapist(s) with the best expertise to help you with your challenges and send you a list of their available appointment slots. If you’re satisfied with one of these, we can then go ahead and book your first appointment. You can also request to work with a specific practitioner and, depending on availability we’ll try accomodate this.

    What happens at my first appointment with the therapist?

    Your first session will likely be different than future appointments. You and your therapist will get to know each other and will begin to build a working alliance. It will be a chance to have the confidential space to express your circumstances, feelings and thoughts and being listened to with depth, attention, empathy and without judgement . Your therapist will likely ask you more about your reasons for seeking therapy, and any symptoms you’re experiencing. You may also be asked questions about your past and the history of your issues, as well as how they currently impact your life in the present. Finally, your first session may be a powerful place to discuss what you would like to achieve with therapy and agree on the length, methods and approaches of treatment.

    Is online therapy effective?

    If you choose online over in-person therapy rest assured that this has been proven to be just as effective as regular face to face therapy, and in some cases even more effective. In addition, choosing online therapy brings additional benefits, for example avoiding longer waiting times, greater flexibility with appointments and you won’t need to travel to our practice. You can enjoy online therapy from the comfort of your home.

    How long the Therapy/counselling sessions last?

    Therapy/counselling sessions last 50 minutes and are held at regular weekly time slots. On occasions we are able to allow some flexibility. This can be discussed with your therapist.

    Do you offer reduced rates/concessions?

    We offer low-cost rates at £60 per session to people with a low income, unemployed or students. Please highlight in your enquiry if you would like a concession rate and how you qualify for this. Depending on the availability of our therapists, we’ll do our best to accommodate your request.

    Do you have a cancellation policy?

    We have a 48 hours no-fee cancellation policy. However you will be charged for sessions missed without giving the full notice.

    Our Practice in Central London

    Our comfortable and confidential therapy rooms are conveniently located 3 min walk from Oxford Circus station, in Central London (see map below). Change starts with Talking!

    References:

    [1] NHS. Feeling Stressed?

    [2] Molla Jafar H, Salabifard S, Mousavi SM, Sobhani Z. The Effectiveness of Group Training of CBT-Based Stress Management on Anxiety, Psychological Hardiness and General Self-Efficacy Among University Students. Glob J Health Sci. 2015 Sep 28;8(6):47-54. doi: 10.5539/gjhs.v8n6p47. PMID: 26755483; PMCID: PMC4954877.

    [3] Barrett, K., & Stewart, I. (2021). A preliminary comparison of the efficacy of online Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) stress management interventions for social and healthcare workers. Health & Social Care in the Community, 29(1), 113-126.

    Members of:

    We're registered with AXA PPP healthcare, AXA therapists, AXA counselling, Aviva, Vitality, Cigna, BPS, HCPC, BABCP
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