What Is Anxiety And How Counseling Can Help One Cope With It
Anxiety is our body’s response to stressors. At various points in life, we face potentially stressful situations. These can be big events, such as sitting for a crucial exam, starting a new job, or getting into a new relationship. However, anxiety doesn’t always stem from big events only.
In our day-to-day life, we may also have to face certain situations on a regular basis that can trigger our anxiety. Now, according to mental health counselors, practically no individual is entirely immune to anxious feelings and thoughts. However, it is the magnitude of one’s anxiety that determines whether or not the person is suffering from some kind of anxiety disorder.
For example, most people will feel some degree of anxiety from decisions they have made of their own volition—decisions that they hope will make their life more productive and will contribute to their overall wellbeing. So, when you are starting a new job or getting into a new relationship, for example, you are expecting good things out of them. Yet you cannot but feel a little anxious for the fear that things may not turn out as expected.
Now, this is common enough. We all suffer from negative thoughts. However, what is not so common is when someone dwells almost exclusively on the negative outcomes of any given situation, so much so that he almost lives in a perpetual state of anxiety and restlessness. And of course, when this happens, it affects every facet of our life—from our work to our personal relationships and more.
Anxiety Counseling: What It Entails
However, the good news is that we can be cured of our anxiety disorders by taking recourse to anxiety counseling. Mental health counselors these days have a large number of tools that can help their clients manage and cope with their anxiety. Katherine Schull, a licensed mental health practitioner, says that she uses CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help clients suffering from anxiety disorders.
She explains that although CBT is a wide enough term and actually embraces a large spectrum of different methods, all these methods share a common aim: which is to alter the thought pattern of the subject. Anxiety often takes hold of us because we tend to exaggerate situations and think about them almost exclusively in negative terms. Over time, these negative racing thoughts so overwhelm our person that we become entirely incapable of looking at any particular situation from other possible angles or perspectives.
As such, anxiety counseling uses tools or methods that can put a halt to these racing thoughts by changing our way of looking at things. It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss all the various methods adopted by counselors. At bottom, however, the methods employed are aimed, first of all, to make the patient aware of, and acknowledge, his false cognitions and negative thinking. And the next step in the healing method involves the practice of re-narrating one’s unhealthy thoughts, a crucial step in altering one’s thought pattern for good.
However, as Schull explains, it takes time as well as constant and sincere effort on the part of the patient to challenge, and subsequently alter, his or her present way of thinking. At the same time, Schull also points out that most of her clients already start to experience positive outcome from the therapy in a relatively quick time, typically after 8 to 10 sessions.
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