Dr. Roslyn L. Ashford, LPC Nu Leaf Therapy

The beginner's guide to

Anxiety Therapy

Do your fears or anxiety feel out of control? If so, then you must understand that you have choices when it comes to breaking out of the mental prison. In this guide, we’ll cover everything from the basic concept to best ways to overcome anxiety, to actually seeing a therapist for anxiety. You’ll also learn how to get started with me as your therapist.

Fear, anxiety, or avoidance. Repeat–fear, anxiety, or avoidance. Does this sound familiar? These are the day in the life choices when it comes to facing certain situations and activities. At times, it’s beyond a specific situation and very broad.
Worry about this.
Worry about them.
Worry about that.
Worry about the past.
Worry about the future.
Worry about what you haven’t accomplished.
Worry about what they’ll think.
Worry. Worry. Worry.
Uncontrollable worry is crippling and hard to turn off.
Counseling for Anxiety

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is basically your brain’s way of going into overdrive when you’re stressed or feeling threatened. You know, those moments when you’re on edge or worrying about stuff? Normal. It’s your brain’s built-in alarm system, keeping you alert and ready to handle tough situations. Find yourself feeling anxious all the time? Is it getting in the way of your day-to-day life? That might be a sign of an anxiety disorder.

For adults, an anxiety disorder is excessive or unrealistic worry that is difficult to control more days than not for at least 6 months or more. In children, it could be as few as 4 weeks. Let’s break down these keywords: excessive, unrealistic, difficult to control more days than not, and at least 6 months.

Excessive worry

Excessive worry is defined by enduring and uncontrollable sensations of apprehension, tension, and unease regarding ordinary circumstances. Managing anxious thoughts can prove challenging, often resulting in prolonged contemplation and fixation on potential worst-case outcomes.

Unrealistic worry

Unrealistic worry involves having concerns or fears that far exceed the likelihood or severity of the situation at hand. It’s when you catch yourself obsessing over potential threats or negative outcomes that are unlikely to happen or completely out of your control. These worries often lack a rational basis and can be fueled by irrational fears and catastrophic thinking. Unrealistic worry can really throw a wrench into your day-to-day life, causing distress, making you want to avoid certain situations, and even clouding your judgment. It tends to stick around, too, popping up as persistent thoughts or obsessive concerns about everything from your health and relationships to your finances and work.

Difficult to Control, More Days than Not Worry

Feeling constantly on edge can seriously disrupt your daily life, leading to significant distress and difficulties in various areas such as work, relationships, and overall well-being. It’s like anxiety is always looming, making its presence known most days, if not every day of the week.

Worry for at Least 6 Months

The duration of anxiety symptoms lasting for a minimum of six months holds great significance; it helps to distinguish between transient anxiety and an anxiety disorder.
Recognizing anxiety symptoms persisting for at least six months enables mental health professionals to make more precise diagnoses and offer timely interventions to address underlying issues and alleviate symptoms. Moreover, understanding the duration of anxiety symptoms helps you comprehend the potential severity and impact of your anxiety on your overall well-being and functioning.

Types and symptoms of anxiety

  1. 1. Separation anxiety is a common emotional response characterized by distress or unease when separated from loved ones or familiar environments. It often manifests in children but can also affect adults. This anxiety stems from a fear of abandonment or separation from attachment figures, such as parents, partners, or caregivers. You may be clingy, reluctant to be alone, and experience physical symptoms like stomachaches or headaches when faced with separation.
  2. 2. Phobia is an intense and irrational fear of a specific object, situation, or activity. It goes beyond normal apprehension and can cause significant distress and disruption in daily life. Phobias often develop as a result of past negative experiences, learned behaviors, or genetic predispositions. Common phobias include fear of heights (acrophobia), spiders (arachnophobia), or social situations (social phobia). When confronted with the feared stimulus, you may experience intense anxiety, panic attacks, or avoidance behaviors.
  3. 3. Social phobia, also known as social anxiety disorder, is a mental health condition characterized by an intense and persistent fear of social situations or performance situations where embarrassment or humiliation may happen. You’d often experience overwhelming anxiety and self-consciousness in social settings, such as parties, meetings, or public speaking engagements. This fear can lead to avoidance of social interactions, which can significantly impact daily life and relationships. Social phobia may stem from a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors.
  4. 4. Panic attacks are intense and sudden episodes of overwhelming fear or discomfort that can happen unexpectedly. During a panic attack, you may experience a rapid heartbeat, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, chest pain, and feelings of impending doom or loss of control. These symptoms can be so severe that they mimic a heart attack, leading to more distress. Panic attacks can happen in response to specific triggers or seemingly out of the blue and can last for several minutes to hours. They’re scary and debilitating, often causing you to avoid situations or places where you fear experiencing another attack.
  5. 5. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a mental health condition characterized by persistent and excessive worry about different areas of life, such as work, relationships, health, or everyday situations. You often experience heightened levels of anxiety and tension, even when there is no apparent reason for concern. This chronic worry can be overwhelming and difficult to control, leading to physical symptoms such as restlessness, fatigue, muscle tension, and difficulty concentrating. GAD can significantly impact daily functioning and quality of life, making it hard to relax or enjoy activities without feeling anxious.

How to Fix Anxiety with the Stress-Relief Checklist

Coping with anxiety involves adopting a multifaceted approach that addresses both the physical and emotional aspects of the condition. Have you ever tried any of these?

The Best 3 Ways to Overcome Anxiety

Seeking professional support for anxiety can be a pivotal step towards finding relief and reclaiming control over your mental health. Anxiety therapy and medication are two primary options that can offer valuable support and guidance in managing anxiety symptoms.

1. Anxiety therapy explores the underlying issues

Often provided by licensed therapists or counselors, therapy offers a safe and supportive environment to explore the underlying causes of your anxiety, develop coping strategies, and learn effective tools to manage your symptoms. Through various therapeutic approaches you’ll gain insight into your thought patterns, learn to challenge negative beliefs, and cultivate healthier ways of coping with stress and uncertainty.

2. Anxiety medication alleviates the intensity of symptoms

In addition to therapy, anxiety medication may be recommended by a healthcare provider to help alleviate the intensity of anxiety symptoms. Medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications can help regulate brain chemistry, reduce anxiety levels, and improve overall well-being. 

3. Anxiety therapy plus meds option

When used in conjunction with therapy, medication can provide additional support in managing symptoms and making therapeutic progress.

So, what’s the best option?

Ultimately, the decision to pursue anxiety therapy, medication, or a combination of both depends on your individual needs, preferences, and treatment goals. A qualified mental health professional can work with you to create a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific circumstances, helping you take proactive steps towards achieving greater peace of mind and emotional wellness.

How does therapy work?

Therapy is a co-creative process between you and a trained mental health professional aimed at improving your overall well-being and addressing specific concerns or challenges you’re facing. In therapy, you’ll have the opportunity to explore your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a safe, supportive, and non-judgmental environment. Therapy was designed to allow you to feel heard, understand, and receive guidance and feedback to help you gain insight into your emotions, behaviors, and patterns of thinking. Together, you’ll work towards identifying and addressing underlying issues, developing coping skills, and setting achievable goals for personal growth and healing. Therapy offers a space for self-reflection, self-discovery, and positive change, empowering you to overcome obstacles, enhance resilience, and lead a more fulfilling life.

How to get started with me as your anxiety therapist in MS, TX, or FL

Getting started with anxiety therapy is a courageous step towards reclaiming control over your mental health and well-being. I offer video sessions throughout the states of Mississippi, Texas, and Florida. To begin, simply schedule a free phone consultation with me. During this confidential conversation, we’ll discuss your unique circumstances, concerns, and goals for counseling. This initial consultation provides an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have and to get a sense of whether therapy is the right fit for you. If you decide to move forward, we’ll create a personalized treatment plan tailored to your unique needs and circumstances. Throughout our sessions, I’ll work alongside you to provide guidance, support, and practical tools to help you manage anxiety symptoms and navigate life’s challenges with greater ease and resilience. Your well-being is my priority, and I’m here to support you every step of the way on your path to healing and growth.

Final thoughts

Taking the step to explore therapy is a brave and empowering choice, and it reflects your commitment to prioritizing your mental health and well-being. Remember that you are not alone, and this is a journey—be patient with yourself, celebrate your progress, and remember that healing takes time. Trust in the process, stay open to new insights and perspectives, and know that with dedication and perseverance, you have the strength within you to overcome anxiety and live a life filled with peace, resilience, and joy. You deserve to feel supported, valued, and empowered, and I believe in your ability to create the life you envision.
Any questions? Check out Ask Dr. Roz. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Not at all. People who ask for help know when they need it and have the courage to reach out. Everyone needs help now and then. In our work together, I’ll help you explore and identify your strengths and how to implement them to reduce the influence of the problems you are facing.

The difference is between someone who can do something, and someone who has the training and experience to do that same thing professionally. A mental health professional can help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Furthermore, counseling is completely confidential. You won’t have to worry about others “knowing my business.” Lastly, if your situation provokes a great deal of negative emotion, and you’ve been confiding in a friend or family member, there is the risk that once you are feeling better you could start avoiding that person so you aren’t reminded of this difficult time in your life.

Medication can be effective but it alone cannot solve all issues. Sometimes medication is needed in conjunction with counseling. Our work together is designed to explore and unpack the problems you are experiencing and expand on your strengths that can help you accomplish your personal goals.

Because each person has different issues and goals for counseling, it will be different depending on the individual. I tailor my therapeutic approach to your specific needs.

Unfortunately, this is not possible to say in a general FAQs page. Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time counseling can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek counseling in the first place.

I am so glad you are dedicated to getting the most out of your sessions. Your active participation and dedication will be crucial to your success.


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Follow by Email