A comprehensive Guide to Anxiety Treatment in Orlando
Do you struggle with anxiety? Maybe you feel overwhelmed in social situations. You may have a fear about a particular thing such as dogs or flying in a plane. Perhaps you experience panic attacks. Or, you might just feel anxious from time to time in stressful situations. Anxiety can present in many different ways. Regardless of whether you experience “routine” anxiety or an anxiety disorder, therapy for anxiety treatment can help.
If you’re struggling with anxiety, know that you’re alone. Anxiety is actually much more common than you may think. This is why anxiety treatment is well researched and there are many different forms of anxiety therapy! However, sometimes all of the options can feel overwhelming.
That is why we’ve created this comprehensive guide to anxiety therapy.
In this guide, we’ll discuss the different types of therapies that work for anxiety treatment and how they can help. But before we get into that, let’s start by talking a bit about anxiety.
What is Anxiety?
Now if you struggle with anxiety symptoms, you may think this is a silly question. Because you already know what anxiety is. It’s that feeling of nervousness in your stomach. Or the racing thoughts that keep you up at night. It’s existential dread or the fear that may seem “silly” but you just can’t seem to overcome.
For some, anxiety is easy to identify. But that’s certainly not the case for everyone. For example, many people mistake anxiety for anger. It can feel vulnerable and even uncomfortable to recognize that you’re worried or scared. So you may interpret what you’re feeling as frustration or anger instead.
While the “formal” definition of anxiety may be a feeling of worry or unease, we know that anxiety looks a bit different for every person.
This is why it’s important to recognize anxiety’s many forms. Phobias, social anxiety, and even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are all forms of anxiety.
And as we mentioned, people who don’t have an anxiety disorder can still struggle with anxiety now and then. So while it’s especially important to seek support if anxiety is causing significant distress in your life, it’s also normal to get help in managing that “everyday” anxiety too. Please know that regardless of how anxiety is impacting your life, you are still deserving of support from an anxiety therapist.
Now that we’ve covered that, let’s move on to anxiety therapy!
What Are The Different Types of Therapies for Anxiety Treatment?
Since there are many different forms of anxiety, it’s only appropriate that there are different forms of treatment as well. The different approaches to anxiety therapy all work a bit differently to address both the root cause and the anxiety symptoms too.
In this blog, we are going to be covering a few different approaches, behavioral therapies, psychodynamic therapy, and EMDR. It’s important to note that these aren’t the only forms of anxiety treatment out there, but they are some of the most common. And our anxiety therapists often integrate these different approaches into anxiety therapy.
Behavioral Therapies for Anxiety Treatment
As the name suggests, the goal of behavioral therapy is to change thoughts and behaviors that are maladaptive (or unhelpful). There are several types of behavioral therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
How does CBT work for anxiety therapy?
One of the core tenets of CBT is that our behaviors are related to our thoughts and feelings.
For example, if you struggle with social anxiety then you don’t simply avoid social situations for no reason. It’s probably because you had unhelpful thoughts such as “I’m going to be awkward” or “I won’t know what to say” which then led to the feeling of anxiety. As a result, you avoided that social situation.
But what happens when you avoid all social situations? You may have trouble making friends, and then you start to think “People must not want to be friends with me”. This can lead to more feelings of social anxiety and more avoidance. Which starts the whole cycle over again!
The goal of CBT is to help break this cycle of anxiety by addressing and then replacing unhelpful thoughts and behaviors with coping skills.
So you may start by learning to recognize and challenge these unhelpful thoughts. For example, you may learn to say to yourself “I’m nervous because this situation is new. And that’s okay.” Then you can work on coping skills such as mindfulness, which can help you stay present at the moment instead of letting your mind wander to anxiety-provoking thoughts.
What about ACT?
ACT works in a similar way to CBT by helping people accept their negative thoughts so they can move forward.
Instead of “fighting” with your anxiety, you’ll learn to accept your feelings or events that happened so you won’t stay stuck on them. For example, let’s say you said something that felt awkward at a party. Instead of dwelling on that experience and rethinking what you could’ve said differently, or how you must have looked, you can accept that it happened and start to let it go. You can acknowledge that everyone says something a bit silly sometimes.
I know this doesn’t come easy at first, however, ACT can help you become more self-compassionate so you can accept these things with more ease. It takes practice, but it’s possible.
However, behavioral therapies aren’t the only approach to treating anxiety! EMDR is another great tool for managing anxiety.
EMDR for Anxiety Treatment
If you’re familiar with Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), you may know that it’s often used to treat trauma. But EMDR can be used effectively as an anxiety treatment as well.
EMDR is most commonly used to treat anxiety when that anxiety stems from a specific event. For example, if you’re afraid of dogs because you were bitten by one as a child. Or, if you have anxiety related to driving because of a car accident you witnessed.
In cases like these, EMDR can help “desensitize” you to the event that caused the anxiety.
This way you no longer have the same physical anxiety symptoms, such as a racing heart when you see a dog. One of the ways that EMDR can help people become desensitized to their anxiety triggers is by helping them see the event or the experience from different perspectives.
See, when you’re thinking about something anxiety provoking you’re really only using one part of your brain, the fear center. Because of this, it can be hard for you to see the experience from different perspectives. EMDR has a sort of calming effect on the brain, which allows the other parts of your brain to evaluate the anxiety-provoking situation. This can help you see the event or experience from multiple perspectives, such as a more logical, compassionate, or hopeful perspective. As a result, you can have less of a fear response to the object or experience that causes your anxiety.
Another benefit of EMDR is that when you “reprocess” that memory from a different perspective, you can change your perspective of yourself.
You can start to see yourself as someone who is capable and powerful, rather than helpless. This can help your anxiety in other situations as well because you’re no longer automatically assuming that you’re powerless.
Similarly, psychodynamic therapy can also help people examine underlying beliefs that may be contributing to anxiety.
Psychodynamic Therapy & Its Use For Anxiety Treatment
Compared to CBT or ACT, psychodynamic therapy is less focused on the “here-and-now” and more focused on understanding underlying patterns or beliefs that may be contributing to anxiety. Often these underlying patterns or beliefs arise from an experience or something that a person learned in the past.
Defense mechanisms are a great example of this. If you’re not familiar, defense mechanisms are a way that people try to protect themselves from anxiety or pain. However, sometimes these defense mechanisms can actually perpetuate anxiety. Or, they can keep people “stuck” from overcoming and learning to manage their anxiety in healthy ways.
For example, someone might use the defense mechanism of repression to avoid thinking about an anxiety-provoking experience. But by doing so, they’re actually preventing themselves from processing the experience in a healthy way. As a result, the anxiety related to that experience can actually get worse over time.
Psychodynamic anxiety therapy helps people to understand these defense mechanisms so they can start to challenge and move forward from them.
As I mentioned, psychodynamic therapy can also help people understand the underlying beliefs that may be contributing to anxiety. A common underlying belief that can facilitate anxious thoughts and behaviors is the idea that things last forever. Many people believe that experiences, feelings, and relationships are “supposed” to last forever. This belief can cause people to think that something is wrong when things end when really it’s natural. It may cause people to wonder what they did wrong for those things to end, which can lead to anxiety.
Psychodynamic anxiety therapy can help people address and untangle these underlying beliefs
This can help people to move towards a more balanced and open-minded view of the world and their place within it. Like EMDR, it can also help people to change their perspective on anxiety-provoking situations.
As you may have come to see, these different approaches to anxiety overlap in many ways. This is why it’s often helpful to integrate these approaches during anxiety treatment.
Integrating Different Therapy Approaches to Anxiety Treatment
While we’ve discussed how different types of anxiety therapy can be uniquely helpful in treating anxiety, it’s important to note that anxiety is often best treated with a combination of therapies. That’s because anxiety can be caused by a variety of factors, such as traumatic events, underlying beliefs of the world, unhealthy coping mechanisms, or a combination of all of these things. Every person’s experience is a bit different.
For example, someone might have anxiety that’s related to a specific event. In this case, EMDR may be a great option to help them reprocess the memory and desensitize themselves to it. However, they may also benefit from CBT to help them manage their anxiety in the moment and teach them healthy coping mechanisms. And, if there are underlying beliefs that are contributing to anxiety (such as “I’m not good enough”), then psychodynamic therapy could be a helpful option as well.
The bottom line is that anxiety is best treated with a comprehensive approach that addresses all of the different factors that are contributing to it.
At The Mindful Practice, our anxiety therapists often integrate these different approaches and modalities to address the different aspects of anxiety. Your anxiety therapist will work with you to determine what makes sense for you and where you’re at. Remember, a therapist is supposed to be responsive to the environment and to their client’s needs. So, they’ll adjust their approach as needed to ensure that you’re getting the most out of anxiety therapy and making progress towards your goals.
Anxiety is a very real experience and it can be really challenging to manage. However, anxiety therapy is effective in helping people manage and even overcome their anxiety symptoms. You don’t have to do this alone.
Are You Ready to Start Anxiety Treatment in Orlando, FL?
If you’re ready to start anxiety therapy, we encourage you to reach out to our team. Our anxiety therapists use a range of approaches to help their clients address the root causes of their anxiety and learn how to manage their anxiety symptoms in healthy ways. We offer anxiety treatment in person at our practice located in Winter Park, FL. However, we can also work with clients located anywhere in Florida through online therapy.
If you’re interested in getting started, you can follow these steps:
- Reach out to our team for your free consultation.
- Meet with one of our trained anxiety therapists
- Learn how to manage your anxiety
Other Therapy Services Offered at The Mindful Practice in Winter Park, FL
We know that anxiety isn’t always the only challenge a person is dealing with. Anxiety can often be the result of a traumatic experience. Or, it can get worse when major life changes occur. Many people struggling with anxiety also experience symptoms of depression, grief, or life transitions. In addition to working with adults, we also offer anxiety therapy for teens as well. If you have questions about how our Orlando therapists can support you or your teen, please feel welcome to reach out.
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