Online sessions now available.Kristian S. Nibe - Clinical psychologist and ISTDP practitioner.
Treatment of anxiety
Psychotherapy is, according to research, the most effective treatment method for anxiety disorders. This is because psychotherapy, in comparison to medical treatments (i.e. anti-depressants etc.), treats more than just the symptoms since it also tries to uncover the underlying emotional and psychological causes of the condition.
Psychotherapy – the basics.
In order to overcome anxiety, you need to become comfortable and accepting of all your feelings. Since the anxiety mechanism is triggered as a response to unconscious feelings and tries to keep these out of awareness, it is important to discover that part of the unconscious that allows feelings to be known and felt in the body. The unconscious mind tenses up the body and creates anxiety symptoms if feelings aren’t consciously experienced.
To evolve to where anxiety no longer covers up feelings with tension involves a process of becoming aware of what kinds of feelings that exist in the unconscious mind, how these are felt in the body, and that one is willing to explore feelings towards important people both present and in the past. In addition, one needs to become aware of how anxiety is channeled in the body, how to regulate anxiety so it doesn’t become overwhelming, and ultimately to become conscious of behavioral patterns and thought patterns that over the years have developed into dysfunctional defense and avoidance mechanisms.
For many this is a process they’re able to accomplish in a relatively short time (i.e. 1-5 therapy sessions) since they are humble in regard to their own unconscious mind and their own feelings, and also because they have little resistance in regard to exploring different aspects of their psychological selves, including their dark sides, aspects often viewed by many as politically incorrect.
In addition, they are not defensive when exploring their own defense mechanisms. They have an ability to turn against these defenses and instead turn towards healthier behavioral patterns. Most importantly, they are not afraid or resistant when it comes to exploring and feeling different feelings they have previously, often unconsciously, avoided.
Most people have great resistance towards this healing process. They are neither open to nor accepting of unconscious feelings and they have a strong resistance towards exploring aspects of themselves they have learned are impolite or socially unacceptable. Many people are resistant to even admitting that they sometimes feel anger towards other people, even though anger is a natural feeling every mammal uses as a protective mechanism against injustice or evil.
Many people are also resistant about becoming aware of and explorative towards their own defense mechanisms, which includes their thought and behavioral patterns. They are not willing to acknowledge that they could be expressing or manifesting even the slightest negative human trait. This attitude towards themselves and their inner life makes the process of uncovering their unconscious feelings and their “true selves” difficult, if not impossible.
To overcome anxiety, you need a dose of humility and an ability to accept that there might exist aspects of yourself you might think of as inappropriate. You need a willingness to feel feelings that are more animal in nature than you have been raised to accept and express. Also, you need to be open to the idea that every feeling has a constructive function so that you don’t judge some feelings as “negative”. Many people haven’t cried or been angry for many years because they view these feelings as unmanly or as primitive and unkind. They have therefore neither accepted nor shared these feelings with anyone and don’t realize to what degree human beings are emotional beings and just how intense our feelings can become if we let them be felt. Because of this they do not see that suppressing these feelings are connected to the rise of the anxiety symptoms they are suffering from.
The psychotherapeutic process.
Psychotherapy can help uncover the underlying causes of the anxiety and the never-ending worries of the mind. Psychotherapy can teach a person how to regulate anxiety and how to calm bodily tension, find a greater level of certainty within, achieve self-confidence and self-esteem, teach how to view social situations in a constructive way, teach how to relate constructively with others with effective communication techniques, and teach effective coping mechanisms and problem solving strategies.
Psychotherapy may provide the tools for how to overcome anxiety. However, the outcome and positive change of the therapy depends entirely on the motivation to use the techniques and concepts in daily life.
The length of the therapy will depend on the motivation to change, the resistance to explore feelings and defense mechanisms, the particular type of anxiety (i.e. panic attack, social anxiety, phobia, OCD etc.), how the anxiety is channeled in the body (i.e. striated muscle, smooth muscle, or cognitive/perceptual disruption), and the intensity of the anxiety symptoms.
Even though psychotherapy may never guarantee a positive result, psychotherapy research shows that many anxiety disorders show good improvement after just 10-15 therapy sessions.
Different kinds of psychotherapeutic approaches are often used during a treatment process. Dynamic psychotherapy explores the underlying causes as to why anxiety and dysfunctional behavioral and thought patterns developed in the first place, what function these have, how they have developed, and how they have acted as defense mechanisms against feelings in the past and present. Cognitive behavior therapy aids dysfunctional behavioral patterns and the mindsets and assumptions that drives these patterns. Exposure therapy is used to desensitize phobics for the purpose of reducing the anxiety the feared object triggers. During the course of therapy, it is common to vary between these forms of therapy in order to achieve the best outcome possible.
Overcoming anxiety takes time, motivation and commitment. It involves confronting the anxiety rather than avoiding it, daring to explore underlying feelings, and confronting and turning against destructive defense mechanisms.
A dominant defense mechanism most people with anxiety have is relentless worrying. This worrying also includes worrying and doubt concerning the efficiency and effect of therapy. This often results in termination of the therapeutic process because the patient quits therapy before desired results have been achieved.
It is possible to contribute to positive change in life by making conscious choices that are positive and constructive outside the therapeutic sessions. Everything ranging from the daily level of activity to constructive social activities affect the level of anxiety. The same applies to quality of sleep and healthy nutrition. By consciously making choices that promote relaxation, vitality, and a positive outlook of life bodily tension and anxiety is reduced.
Learn about anxiety, what it is, and how it affects your psyche. In order to overcome anxiety, it’s important to understand the phenomena. Knowledge about the condition alone may not cure it (although many people get rid of their anxiety after just 1-2 sessions when they finally learn what anxiety really is), but it will help you to get the most out of the therapeutic process.
Be conscious about your relationships. Loneliness and isolation only contribute to an increase of anxiety and for more time lying on the couch worrying. Maintain constructive friendships that give you energy rather than spending your time with people that take your energy away.
It also helps to develop a lifestyle as healthy as possible and to be physically active. Only half an hour of physical activity every day reduces tension and stress. Also take time to evaluate what aspects in your daily life that creates stress and be conscious of the responsibilities that you take on during the 24 hours of the day. To be conscious of your responsibilities and priorities contributes to a greater sense of freedom and strength that helps to reduce anxiety.
Online consultations available.
Use the contact form below for any inquiries. Please state briefly the nature of your problem, when and how you are available, and how you prefer to conduct payment (Credit Card or PayPal).
Consultations are available for either 45 minutes or 90 minutes, and are conducted by video either through Skype or appear.in. Alternatively I also offer sessions through chat/e-mail.
The price per 45 minute consultation is 160 Euro. The price for a 90 minute consultation is 300 Euro.
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