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Counselling 4 Anxiety

Online and in-person Counsellor in Knightsbridge, Marylebone, Marble Arch & Central London

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CBT for Anxiety: Pushing Through the Anxiety Curve | Counselling 4 Anxiety

One core tool in helping people with anxiety to reduce their phobias and fears, is to use exposure therapy which is a key tool that is used with CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). The two go hand in hand and have a greater efficacy and outcome for people with anxiety and phobias when used together.

As therapists and counsellors, it is important to work with clients to ascertain what coping mechanisms they currently use. Getting a clear understanding of current coping mechanisms and techniques is essential in working through with clients, whether these coping mechanisms are helpful, (more than likely not at this stage in their life), or whether they may consider alternative coping strategies.

What may have been useful earlier in their lives, may not be working now and that is usually why people seek help from counsellors at a specific stage in their life.

One element of psycho-educational work carried out with anxiety sufferers is to go through the 'anxiety cycle' with them and to demonstrate to them that exposing themselves to their fear, (like travelling on the underground), will cause their anxiety to rise though the body cannot maintain this anxiety and stress response for a long period of time. Anxiety and stress usually fall within 5-10 minutes of an individual staying within the phobia causing position.

So someone with a phobia of being in an underground carriage should stay on the carriage for a period of time when they feel that their anxiety and their heart rate has sufficiently and significantly fallen from the anxiety peak that they felt when they first got onto the carriage, or when they first arrived at the entrance to the Underground station.

The 'emotional and mental health' learning takes place in the downward phase of the anxiety curve when an individual feels that their heart rate or their anxiety has dropped to about half the rate that it was when compared to the peak. It is at this point where the learning has an impact on the individual and where they start to recognise that their body or their mind is resilient enough to cope with the stressor or phobic situation.

For some people with anxiety, simply knowing this is a major step forward. It is therefore one tool in a range of many that should be used with people with ongoing anxiety and phobias.

(Note: The anxiety diagram used in this article is referenced to Mindease Limited and they are the creators of the anxiety curve map).

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