Are you struggling with anxiety in your day-to-day life? Here is all you need to know about seeing a therapist for your anxiety.
Anxiety is one of your body’s natural responses to stress. At moderate levels, this isn’t alarming. It is just one of the many emotions our brain handles and controls as we navigate life.
However, some people experience a debilitating kind of anxiety where their stress levels increase and become constant despite the lack of an imminent threat. This affects their daily life and often interfere with their work or education.
In that case, a psychologist or psychiatrist may diagnose the patient with an anxiety disorder and require medical intervention.
Are you struggling with anxiety? Have you been recently diagnosed and don’t know what to do next? One of the ways to get a handle on your anxiety is to engage with a licensed therapist.
How A Therapist Can Help With Your Anxiety
Here is the ultimate guide to seeing a therapist for your anxiety:
1. Engage A Licensed Therapist
Not all therapists are licensed, meaning it’s important that you find out whether the therapist such as those found at Alvarado Parkway anxiety counseling, offering their services in guiding you through anxiety is licensed.
Some therapy service providers offer to guide people based on experience speaking with people about anxiety, or research they may have done by themselves, and even a few semesters they may have taken in college.
Although some may have sound advice and appear highly professional, anxiety is a medical condition requiring a certain level of knowledge and ethics.
To determine whether a therapist is licensed, you can check for the following:
A psychologist must hold a Master’s degree from any reputable university. During the degree, they would have undergone theoretical and practical training required to guide clients and patients accordingly.
Depending on where they operate, they would have undergone a series of assessments and have to be registered with the relevant board of practice.
If the therapist is a qualified counselor, they still require a high level of education, such as a Master’s in rehabilitation.
Regardless of the qualification title, a therapist should be able to present these upon request or have these displayed on office shelves and on their website.
You should also check their specialization when preparing to see a therapist for your anxiety. Although they may be licensed therapists, your interest should be in one who’s specialized in treating anxiety as there are many different kinds of therapists.
Don’t be shy to discuss their specialization, or ask if they focus on a specific anxiety disorder so that you can pair it with one which best aligns with your condition.
You may also want to consider the level of experience that the therapist has regarding anxiety treatment. You can then take on a therapist whose experience puts you at ease the most.
Personal Beliefs And Backgrounds
You can consider the personal beliefs and social background of the therapists you choose to work with, as you will want a therapist who shares a similar system to yours.
As much as licensed therapists are professional and guided by their industry rather than personal beliefs, these still come into play regarding how you relate.
For example, you may be from African or Asian culture, which dictates the value of family. When you meet with a therapist from a Western liberal context, they may suggest cutting ties with your family member who triggers your anxiety.
Though there are no right nor wrong perspectives here, just differences based on culture, this may not be the best approach to your situation given your culture and environment.
The same could be said with religious beliefs. An agnostic or nonreligious therapist may not be able to help you navigate your anxiety as a Christian or Muslim.
When seeing your licensed therapist, consider the environment which makes you feel most at ease. Therapists operate in different environments and settings, meaning you have to find a space you resonate with.
Do you prefer a couch setting where you lay down, or would you rather sit upright in an office setting? Would you rather have online sessions where you can discuss from the comfort of your home or invite the therapist into your home for face-to-face interaction?
Others prefer to be outdoors in nature as they go through the therapy sessions, and it’s all about finding out where you’re most relaxed and how the therapist agrees to shift the environment to accommodate your preference.
You may know of people who have gone through therapy for their anxiety. You can ask them to recommend the therapists they feel would work well with you.
If you would rather not ask people you know for recommendations for privacy reasons, you can check for online recommendations. Always use your discretion when reading reviews, as not all will be authentic.
2. Discuss Payment Options
Seeing that you may be struggling with anxiety, financial dynamics such as the therapist’s payment options may contribute to your anxiety levels.
Consider discussing the payment options from the onset to decrease anxiety levels when seeing your therapist.
Find out whether they accept medical aid, and if they do, research whether your medical aide provider caters to medical instances such as these.
Knowing whether you have to pay cash or if a medical aide can cover therapy, you can arrange the payment plan with your therapist.
Find out whether their installments are an option and measure against your budget whether you can agree on a payment structure.
3. Prepare Yourself For Your Session
Now that you’ve found the therapist you want to work with, you must prepare yourself for the sessions.
Therapy isn’t always a walk in the park, as you may have to discuss dynamics that you may have swept under the rug to protect you from feeling pain.
During the process, issues you may not have been consciously aware of may be unearthed and cause some distress.
Some of the ways that you can prepare yourself for a session are:
Begin by patting yourself on the back for seeking help regarding your anxiety and tracing the root causes so you can re-wire your brain and regulate your emotions.
It takes much courage, determination, and commitment when it comes to therapy.
Write Down Your Feelings
You can go into therapy having written down your feelings, thoughts, and subject topics. The therapist is then knowledgeable about the direction they can take regarding your raised points throughout the process.
Writing down these before you go to therapy may help lower your anxiety regarding going to therapy, as writing is a form of therapy.
Before you see your therapist, you can find different meditation techniques to help clear your mind and slow down your breathing rate.
You can then go in with a clear headspace, meaning you may communicate more effectively and be open to responses, questions, and suggestions.
Therapy is likened more to a marathon than a sprint, meaning it’s a process that may appear slower than you expect.
Managing our expectations means allowing the process to take its course and trusting that the therapist is guiding you at the pace that you’re supposed to take.
Try not to measure your progress by comparing yourself to others or expecting to feel less anxious after several sessions.
Your therapist is positioned to point out your progress based on the goals you’d have set with each other at the onset and throughout the process.
4. Commit To A Schedule
Once you have started seeing your therapist for your anxiety, you must commit to the schedule you set together.
As the process continues, you may get uncomfortable, and you may find yourself wondering whether you can continue.
Remember that some days’ sessions may be easier than others, but the result is that you overcome anxiety and get back to mindfully enjoying your days.
There may be times when you cannot commit to a set date because of other commitments, which is always understandable. In such a case, you can communicate with your therapist to reschedule and continue on your healing path.
5. Commit To Assigned Work
Depending on the course of your therapy sessions, your therapist may sometimes give you homework.
For instance, you may be asked to write in a journal regarding your anxiety levels during the week and what may have triggered these.
You may be asked to experiment with different natural ways to lower anxiety levels, such as walking in nature, deep breathing, listening to music, and socializing.
Committing to the assigned work means facilitating the healing process outside the therapy space. You can find trusted family and friends to help you with the assigned homework by accompanying you on a nature walk, for example, or hanging out while listening to relaxing music.
As you tackle the assignments, remember that these are the tools you will need to apply after the fact.
The homework isn’t so that the therapist is pleased with your execution; rather, it’s so that you learn how to respond in different scenarios.
The more you practice your homework, even without the prompt of your therapist, the more you learn how to overcome anxiety on your own two feet once you finish your therapy sessions.
6. Invite A Friend To Therapy
After walking the journey with your therapist, they or you can suggest inviting a trusted family member or friend to one of the therapy sessions. This allows your friends and family to understand you from your point of view regarding living with anxiety.
They are also then in a position to help and support you accordingly, having been equipped with certain tools that they may otherwise didn’t have, which is why it may seem as if they didn’t support you.
Inviting a family or friend to therapy may also be an opportunity where they get to assess your progress from an outsider’s point of view.
You may assess your progress and be harsh on yourself based on your expectations meaning your friend or family may help to put your progress into perspective.
7. You Are Allowed To Switch Therapists
You are allowed to switch if you aren’t connecting with your therapist as expected.
Perhaps your beliefs are clashing, or you feel as if they don’t understand where you are coming from, or you feel as if they are incompetent.
When you initially begin therapy, you should be given a contract to sign, showing that you are a willing participant.
In the contract, there should be a section that discusses that you’re at liberty to change therapists at any point should you feel uncomfortable.
You can ask your current therapist to refer you to a colleague that they feel may work better with your expectations.
Alternatively, you can restart the process on your own, where you find other therapists that aren’t tied to the ones that you may have been engaging.
8. Check In Regularly
There may come a time when you feel you no longer have to regularly visit your therapist because you walked the journey and are confident to continue with life using the coping skills you learned.
Consider checking in regularly depending on your availability and need for their services.
Healing isn’t always a linear process, and if you find you are struggling again, you can always reach out for help rather than struggle in silent disappointment.
Therapists’ doors are always open, more often than not, especially after they identify that you’re committed to healing.
High anxiety levels can be debilitating and may lead to other conditions such as depression. If left unattended, some coping mechanisms, such as alcoholism and drug abuse, may worsen the situation.
Make sure that you begin the process of seeing an anxiety therapist by confirming their qualifications and education.
You can also consider other dynamics that may make you feel comfortable throughout the process, such as background, beliefs, and the environment in which they operate.
Discuss the available payment options and methods before you commit to avoid financial strain.
Before you go to your sessions, take the necessary measures to prepare yourself for the best possible results. It would be best if you also tried to commit to the schedule as much as possible, so your progress is steady.
Speak with your therapist to see whether you can invite a family member or friend to a session, and remember, you can always switch therapists.
Check-in regularly whenever you need help, and remember that healing isn’t always a linear process.