Is dealing with anxiety a challenge for you? Are you experiencing anxiety problems? Is coping with anxiety difficult for you?
Do you keep wondering: “Can anxiety be cured?” Are you looking for a therapist who offers treatment without medication? Bridgeway Counselling offers private counselling and psychotherapy to help you deal with the symptoms as well as the causes so that you can feel more relaxed and confident. Private counselling and psychotherapy sessions are held in West London. Bridgeway Counselling covers the areas of Shepherds’ Bush (W12), Holland Park (W8), Hammersmith (W6), Notting Hill (W11), North Kensington (W10), Ladbroke Grove, Chiswick (W4), East Acton (W3) and Willesden Junction (NW10). Online Counseling and psychotherapy sessions are also available via skype, whatsapp and the phone.
Treatment without medication is about increasing awareness, understanding and overcoming the causes and promoting changes in behaviour. This natural treatment can be combined with a range of natural remedies.
The work needed to overcome anxiety can broadly be summed up in three steps
1. Become aware of the symptoms
Working with an anxiety therapist can help you become aware of when you are feeling anxious and what that is like for you. This can be done by getting you to understand the symptoms and help you spot when and where they occur. By observing when and where you are feeling anxious and how that feels, you are taking a step back. In doing so, you are starting to open the door to change.
2. Become aware of what causes anxiety
A therapist can help you understand, explore and overcome the causes of anxiety. The causes vary from person to person and can depend on
- your upbringing and childhood (often linked to separation anxiety)
- relationship problems
- your family
- work problems
- pressure from society and social media
- your lifestyle
- use of drugs and medication
- living conditions
3. Make changes
Awareness alone is usually not enough to change your behaviour. Based on the new understanding of yourself, counselling can help you make changes in your life so you can find ways of beating anxiety, feel calmer and more confident in relationships. This will also make it easier to stand up for yourself.
How do counselling and psychotherapy work?
Conscious, unconscious, past and present
For therapy to work, it is important to address all levels of the psyche. As well as listening and empathising with you, I will address your problems at both conscious and unconscious level. If need be, we can also look at how the past is impacting your present.
Working consciously means using strategies to help you manage the symptoms you are experiencing. Strategies may include breathing exercises, affirmations, changing your internal dialogue and stress management strategies, to name a few.
Working at an unconscious level means using images, drawings (if you like to draw), symbols and dreams. This offers an opportunity to access deeper parts of yourself. By working at an unconscious level, it is usually possible to trace the root causes of anxiety and create lasting changes in behaviour. This way of working is easier than it sounds. I provide clear guidance and give clients a choice about how we work together.
Clients sometimes assume that working at an unconscious levels means to systematically explore the past and particularly childhood. In my practice, I use fractional analysis meaning that I only look at the aspects of your past that are related to your current problems.
What are the benefits of having counselling and psychotherapy?
As well as helping you feel more relaxed, counselling and psychotherapy can help you increase your confidence in relationships, at work and enable you to feel more at ease when socialising. Feeling less anxious means that it is easier to make the right decisions and to assert yourself. Here are some more benefits:
- Learn what causes you anxiety and how to relieve it
- Understand when you are feeling anxious and how you experience that
- Discover healthy and natural ways of reducing and beating anxiety
- Understand what situations are stressful and how to manage them
- Overcome critical thoughts
- Develop positive thoughts
- In England women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety compared to men
- Common mental health problems such as anxiety disproportionately affect people of a poorer or disadvantaged background
- Anxiety, depression and stress are the major causes of work related sickness and cost the UK economy 70 million days of work each year
- In the 2013 UK wellbeing survey nearly 1 in 5 adults showed symptoms of anxiety and depression
- In 2013 there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety disorders
- In 2013 to 2014 work related stress, depression and anxiety accounted for 39% of all work related illnesses
- Unemployed people in the UK are 4 to 10 times more likely to develop anxiety and depression (2008 Health Work and Well-being Programme review)
- In 2011 one in seven gay and bisexual men were experiencing moderate to severe levels of mixed depression and anxiety (Stonewall survey)
- In 2012, a total of 202 General Practitioners in the United Kingdom reported that 84% of their consultations were attributed to issues with stress and anxiety
Symptoms of anxiety
The physical symptoms
- pain in your chest
- loss of appetite
- feeling faint
- lack of appetite
- increased use of toilet
- feeling sick
- pounding heartbeat
- faster breathing
- feeling tense
The psychological symptoms:
- feeling tearful
- needing constant reassurance from others
- feeling worried or unease
- struggling to sleep
- unable to concentrate
- feeling irritable
- being highly alert
- struggling to relax
- feeling on edge
What causes anxiety?
The causes of anxiety are several and they can vary from person to person
The present or the future
It is quite possible, that you have always felt confident and relaxed since the day you were born but are feeling increasingly anxious as a result of changes or uncertainty in your life. This might be because your job is at risk and with it the security of your home and family, for example.
Research has also shown that there might be a link between anxiety and disparity of income between men and women. A recent study conducted in the US shows that women who earn less than men are 2.5 time more likely to be diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Whilst among women whose income equalled or exceeded that of their male counterparts, the odds of the same diagnosis were the same as those of men.
You may have reached the stage in life, where you are questioning the meaning and purpose of your existence and are taking stock of your life to date. As you are feeling unsure about the next part of your life, you may be feeling more anxious than you normally do.
If you were raised in a home where you witnessed or experienced violence and abuse, it is likely that you were constantly feeling anxious because as a result of having to be alert to potential danger. Even if you are an adult now, there may still be a part of you who feels just as anxious now as you did when you were a child or an adolescent. It could also be that your family functioned well overall but your parents were not sufficiently present when you were feeling anxious or that they simply did not know how to help you stay calm. Your parents may have raised you with the best intentions but may have lacked the ability to reassure you.
Clients can experience systemic anxiety. This happens if you were raised in a family with high levels of stress or conflict. Without realising, you may have absorbed the anxiety that your relatives were feeling and have been carrying this with you to this day.
Humans can experience existential anxiety. Differently from other creatures on the planet human being have a much higher level of awareness. This enables us to question the meaning and purpose of our existence. The lack of clear cut answers to such a fundamental question, the fear of death and the impotence we sometimes experience when confronted with the destructive might of nature can all cause us to feel anxious.
Stress, exhaustion, drugs and alcohol, excessive sugar, caffeine, energy drinks as well as the side effects of some medications can cause you to feel extremely anxious. In 2014 a systematic review by O’Neil et al., found that a higher intake of saturated fat, refined carbohydrates, and processed food products can worsen mental health in children or adolescents, with a strong focus on depression and anxiety.
What’s the potential behind anxiety?
A natural high
It is completely normal to feel very anxious from time to time. You may be feeling anxious before a job interview, for instance. In this case, feeling a slight level of anxiety might push you to revise harder to avoid failing. Feeling a little anxious prior to an exam, can help you to stay more alert and focus your attention. It is like a natural high, which can carry you through the interview or test. However, if you are feeling extremely anxious, you will struggle to concentrate, come across as nervous and feel less confident.
What is trying to unfold?
As a Psychosynthesis therapist, I like to look at anxiousness in a positive way. I like to think of it as a signal that is prompting you to enter into a constructive dialogue with yourself to understand your needs. I am interested in what is trying to emerge from within you when you are feeling anxious. Yes, you are feeling anxious but that’s only part of you and there is so much more that you can be.
Recent findings by French researchers show that feeling anxious could be good for you if you are faced with a crisis. Until now, it was believed that feeling highly anxious might impair the brain’s ability to process threats. However, the above research has shown that levels of non clinical anxiety cause the brain to processes threats via its motor circuits responsible for action instead of the sensory circuit (linked to recognition). Levels of non-clinical anxiety might therefore enable you to take action more readily if you are in a crisis. It remains to be seen whether the same applies to clinical levels.