Dealing with an anxiety issue on your own can be challenging and if left unchecked, anxiety can become a debilitating issue making us feel as if we are no longer in control of our lives. In these situations seeking anxiety therapy can be the answer. At Therapy Central, we use evidence-based interventions, including CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), to help individuals deal with the symptoms and causes of anxiety and enable them to live the life they want.
Continue reading to learn more about what anxiety is, why we experience it and what therapy can do to help.
What is Anxiety? Is it always ‘bad’?
Anxiety therapy is not always needed. This is because experiencing anxiety is normal: it is one of the many emotions we are equipped with since birth. In small doses and in the appropriate situation, anxiety can be very useful for us. For example, being anxious about an upcoming presentation will (hopefully) motivate us to prepare for it and do well. However, some people experience heightened levels of anxiety that can be debilitating and it can have a significant impact upon their lives. Experiencing high levels of anxiety is a common problem which can develop in childhood or adulthood. Read more in our anxiety blog post.
The Various Types of Anxiety Issues
Anxiety is actually a term used for a number of specific anxiety disorders. Including the following:
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). In GAD, we experience frequent and chronic worries about events which are unlikely to happen
- Panic Disorder. Here is where we experience Panic Attacks: sudden and very intense reactions of terror linked accompanied by strong physical symptoms (increased heart rate, hyperventilation, dizziness etc.). Usually there is an unreasonable fear about dying or losing control.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). In OCD, anxiety is experienced as a result of intrusive thoughts or images, often accompanied by rituals (compulsions), which tend to temporarily calm anxiety and fears.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In PTSD, anxiety is triggered by reminders or other factors linked with a traumatic event we experienced.
- Social Phobia/Social Anxiety. In social anxiety, the negative feelings are triggered by social situations, and linked with the fear of others evaluating us negatively.
- Specific Phobia (such as a phobia of spiders, lifts, planes etc.). With phobias, anxiety is usually triggered by a specific object or situation which provokes very intense fear.
- Health Anxiety (Hypochondria). In health anxiety, there is an excessive, unreasonable worry about having a severe illness or disease. This fear is usually maintained despite medical reassurance.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety?
People asking for help with anxiety therapy or counselling tend to often experience excessive worry about a range of things such as finances, relationships, health, work and school. Whilst everyone worries from time to time, those with high levels of anxiety, like those with GAD, can experience worries as being relatively uncontrollable, distressing and persistent. People with high anxiety levels may also face discrete periods of ruminating which lasts from a few minutes to hours.
High anxiety levels often involves the following Cognitive and Emotional symptoms:
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Feeling on edge
- Difficulties concentrating
- Difficulties making decisions
- Strongly disliking uncertainty
- The sense of not being in control
People can often experience unpleasant physical symptoms associated with their anxiety, such as:
- Poor or increased appetite
- Muscle aches and pains
- Increase in heart rate/palpitations
- Quickened and shallow breathing
High anxiety levels can significantly affect our sleep. There may be difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep and have less refreshing sleep. When working with an anxiety counsellor, one of the most important short term goals is to reduce the frequency and intensity of your symptoms to start to feel more in control of your life.
Why is Anxiety Maintained?
There are very clear reasons why anxiety often does not go away on its own. For example, people experiencing anxiety problems may try to fight their worries by over-planning, being overly organized, avoiding worrying situations and seeking reassurance from those close to them that they are safe and well. This is because they can have a tendency to overestimate the likelihood of the worst case scenario happening. To further add to worry, people may have a heightened sense of responsibility. Therefore they believe that if something bad were to happen it would have been largely their fault.
Many people with anxiety can also face other mental health issues alongside it such as depression.People often believe that there are benefits of worrying to the extent that they do and that the cost of not doing so provides good reason to continue worrying. This can make it difficult for people to let go of their worries and reduce the measures they take to prevent their fears occurring. As well as holding positive beliefs about worrying, some people may also hold negative beliefs about worrying where they worry about their worrying. They can have a fear that their worries are out of control, that worrying to the extent that they do is harmful, that they may go crazy with worrying and that the worry will take over and control them. Although these strategies make sense as they’re devised to move away from, reduce or remove our fears, they are in fact counterproductive. In turn, these strategies just serve to raise anxiety levels! See below an example of a CBT anxiety cycle which would be an early target in anxiety therapy.
What Causes an Anxiety Problem?
There is not one single cause of an anxiety disorder but rather, there are a range of factors that can make it more likely that an individual will develop significant difficulties requiring anxiety therapy, including:
- Adversity in childhood
- High stress levels
- Growing up with highly anxious parents or relatives
- Substance abuse
- A very stressful/traumatic event
- The break-up or loss of an important relationship
- The loss of a job
Do I need Anxiety Therapy?
To understand if our anxiety is an issue to look at with an anxiety therapist, it’s enough to ask ourselves how and to what extent our life has changed as a result of anxiety. If you have stopped going to social events, meeting family and friends, or if you have lost a relationship, a job, or have started avoiding certain situations or activities for fear of having an anxiety or panic attack, you should ask for professional help.
As mentioned above, although it only makes sense to want to avoid unpleasant feelings (and the circumstances we anticipate would trigger them), consistent and continued avoidance actually increases our anxiety in the long term. This in turn will have the inevitable effect of preventing us from enjoying a fulfilling life. At Therapy Central our expert anxiety counsellors help individuals who experience mild to severe levels of anxiety. If you are feeling anxious, are struggling to manage it, it is affecting your life and you would like to find ways to better manage it then it can be helpful to seek counselling, therapy or CBT for anxiety.
Does Counselling, Therapy for Anxiety Work?
Yes, there is a large amount of evidence that psychological and talking therapies are effective in treating anxiety . Well-documented enduring effects exists that therapy and counselling improve anxiety disorders and reduce its cognitive and emotional symptoms . CBT for anxiety is one of the approaches with the strongest proven evidence, and it is also the treatment most of the anxiety therapists at Therapy Central use to work with anxious clients.
At Therapy Central we have helped many people who struggle with anxiety and enabled them to better manage it and reduce the impact it has upon their lives. Our anxiety therapists draw upon therapy approaches that are shown to be effective, such as CBT. Our therapists work integratively, meaning they have knowledge and experience of various therapy models and will draw upon the ones (whether that is CBT for anxiety or other therapy models) that they think will be helpful for you.
Anxiety Counselling: What Does It Involve?
Therapy for anxiety may involve helping you to explore the pros and cons of worrying to the extent that you do. You may be helped to challenge your thoughts and perhaps to try not to engage with them but instead to let them go. An important aspect of therapy is often around helping you to accept that you cannot have full certainty and control over your thoughts and worries and to let go of striving for this. The behaviours you engage in which are a result of your worries will be explored and some of them will be a target for change.
You may learn that they are feeding into your anxiety and it may be helpful to make adjustments to them. For example, it can be fruitful to test out our worries and face our fears. This may sound daunting, however, with the support of your anxiety counsellor or therapist, you can identify what adjustments would be helpful to make and to put these into play in a gradual way. Therapy will be tailored around your specific needs by a highly trained anxiety therapist.
What are the Benefits of Counselling For Anxiety?
Therapy for anxiety can help you to better manage it and take control back from anxiety. You will be helped to learn concrete skills and techniques to cope with anxiety. People find that the psychological and physical symptoms of anxiety reduce and the anxiety has less of an impact upon their lives. Because anxiety issues are very treatable, you will find that your symptoms will be greatly reduced or eliminated after a few months of therapy. Therapy for anxiety can help you to take the steering wheel back and head in the direction you want to go towards in life without feeling held back by the anxiety monster.
Anxiety Therapy, Counselling & CBT in London
If you are looking for anxiety therapy in Central London, at Therapy Central we can help you learn the strategies you need to start taking back control from your anxiety. With anxiety therapy you’ll be enabled to make the crucial changes to bring balance and fulfilment back into your life.
It’s not easy to recognise that you might have an anxiety issue, but anxiety is extremely common and it’s not your fault to experience it. You don’t have to face anxiety alone. Start managing it with an anxiety therapist in London today. Our therapist have a many years of experience in helping clients with anxiety.
Get Professional Help with Anxiety in London Today
Contact us for a free 15 min consultation with an Anxiety Therapist to see if our help would fit your needs. You can also get in touch via email at email@example.com or call us at (+44) 020 348 82797.
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!
Learn more about anxiety
Anxiety: Looking after yourself
Mind Anxiety and Panic attacks help
American Psychological Association: How therapists Help with Anxiety Disorders. Pdf
Other issues we work with at Therapy Central
 Bandelow, B., Sagebiel, A., Belz, M., Görlich, Y., Michaelis, S., & Wedekind, D. (2018). Enduring effects of psychological treatments for anxiety disorders: meta-analysis of follow-up studies. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 212(6), 333-338.
 Mangolini, V. I., Andrade, L. H., Lotufo-Neto, F., & Wang, Y. P. (2019). Treatment of anxiety disorders in clinical practice: a critical overview of recent systematic evidence. Clinics, 74.
Dr Raffaello Antonino, Counselling Psychologist
Dr Amy Smith, Counselling Psychologist
Attribution “run away icon”: Dillon Arloff, from The Noun Project