Anxiety and social anxiety treatment

Counselling is an effective treatment for anxiety and social anxiety. Learn to better understand your anxiety and change the way you react to threatening situations. Learn to slow down your body’s response with controlled breathing and mindfulness techniques. Learn new habits to address things as they occur instead of putting them off until you feel overwhelmed. Find out about anxiety treatment.

Thought for the Week

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” Buddha

Anxiety treatment

Image of man with his face in his hands representing the need for anxiety treatment

Suffering from anxiety or social anxiety?

Counselling can provide effective anxiety treatment. The most effective forms of counselling/psychological anxiety treatment are combined Cognitive and Behavioural therapy. This helps you to identify unhelpful thoughts and behaviours and replace them with more helpful ones based on evidence, not faulty assumptions. Behavioual therapy helps you to learn new behaviours in response to a perceived threat and practise exercises to increase your confidence in social situations. Learning mindfulness techniques help you to be present and aware, learning to bear some anxiety without fear and to allow your thoughts to come and go, without reacting to them.

Effective anxiety treatment entails supportive therapy combined with medication if you suffer from severe anxiety.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a physical response in the body and brain when we perceive something as a threat or danger. When we feel fear the mind gives the body an alarm, warning it of a threat and priming it to take action to avoid the danger. This is the body’s normal ‘fight or flight’ response, meaning that when there’s danger we get out of the way and when it’s unavoidable we stay and face it or fight it.

Anxiety occurs when there is no danger and the body goes into false alarm mode, staying on high alert.

It is normal to feel anxious some of the time but with an anxiety disorder people can feel anxious and worried a lot of the time and sometimes for no apparent reason.

Anxiety also occurs as a symptom of other mental health disorders. It is common for people who have an anxiety disorder to also suffer depression. An anxiety attack occurs when there is an intense episode of fear and physical discomfort with a rapid increase in many symptoms of anxiety.

Signs and symptoms of anxiety

Anxiety has a variety of symptoms that vary in intensity and duration. There are different types of anxiety disorders, each with a different set of symptoms and signs. Here are some of these:

  • Physical – tension, difficult breathing, sweating, feeling faint, tightness or pain in the chest, heart palpitations, headaches, nausea
  • Psychological and emotional – worry, panic, fear of losing control, having other fears, a sense of doom, feeling irritable
  • Behavioural – going out of your way to avoid things or situations

Social anxiety affects many people to different degrees with the fear of social interaction leading them to avoid these situations, fearing negative evaluation and criticism from others. There may be more drug or alcohol use than normal and feelings of not coping.

How can counselling help with anxiety?

Counselling gives you an understanding of what happens in your mind and body when you feel overwhelmed, threatened or anxious in a situation. You will learn to monitor and slow down your body’s response with techniques such as controlled breathing and mindfulness. Problem-solving techniques will help you to sort through tasks that may seem overwhelming. You will learn how to challenge any negative thoughts you may have about a situation or your ability to cope with it. You will learn to relax, calm and soothe yourself, so you can be more productive and less anxious.

If your anxiety causes you to suffer from severe physical symptoms you are advised to see your GP for assessment and referral to a specialist clinic if necessary.

Disclaimer: the information on these pages is not intended as advice, or for diagnosis or treatment. You need to consult your doctor for these things without delay.

Contact Linda Magson, Sydney counsellor specialising in anxiety therapy.

Please note: You may be entitled to a rebate for counselling through your health fund as Linda is a registered provider of counselling services.

Read more about anxiety, depression and stress.