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Counselling 4 Anxiety

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

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Risk Scanning and Management OCD with Anxiety | Counselling 4 Anxiety

We know that anxiety conditions have a possible genetic and biological trait, as well as environmental and experiential factors. This 'tripod' of issues means that in some ways, there is real progress that can be made in treating anxiety conditions. The environmental and experiential factors can be adapted and changed and so hope is essential in the therapeutic process and in engagement with individuals who have anxiety and who are looking for help through counselling or hypnotherapy support.

Part of the symptomology of anxiety conditions is the belief that individuals over-estimate issues of risk to themselves or their family or futures, and under-estimate their 'ability to cope' with adverse events.  This leads to a marked inclination towards believing that bad things are more likely to happen. For example, in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, (which is classed as an anxiety disorder), mental ruminations are inclined to focus on negative historical events or ones that may happen in the future. The cognitive fusion with these beliefs is something that OCD sufferers easily slip into and therefore this ability to slip into negative ruminations around previous or even future events, is observable in clients with OCD. This is also why people who have OCD, say that they slip easily into their ruminative thoughts and why they feel 'stuck' within them. What they are also unknowingly doing by resisting thoughts or going through 'problem solving ruminations', is that they are re-enforcing the brain pathways and the behavioral patterns around anxiety, which have led them down a specific rabbit hole in the first place.

As I said before, people with anxiety conditions tend to internally over-emphasize the impact that a negative event or incident will have on their lives. Linked into this, is a strong sense of responsibility, that they can prevent harmful or negative things happening to them, their families or loved ones.

What Can Therapists Do?

Counsellors and therapists can work with individuals on examples where they have been able to be resilient and where they have gotten  through situations that were difficult. Working with clients on such events helps them to refocus on their gains, though this also has to go hand in hand with assessing and bringing to the surface any negative core beliefs that they might have. Without work on their negative core beliefs, any subsequent work may not have a long lasting effect for the client.

Also, working with them to assess the actual risk of a future event that they deem will be catastrophic should be part of the therapeutic package of work. In many cases, the actual risk will be much smaller than the client perceives and therapists should explore what is the worst that can happen, how realistic it is in happening, how likely the client is to get through the situation and the means and mechanisms that they can employ to go through it. Allied to this work should include a form of acceptance that the situation may be difficult and that it may generate difficult feelings, though there is a path through the mental haze that the client can follow and go through

It is also essential to explore the deep sense of responsibility that clients with anxiety have and therapists should also explore which life events may have led to this behavioral trait and construct a form of graded exposure which is brought into the work. This will assist clients to gently learn to live with uncertainty. This should help them to grasp any growing belief that they are not responsible for bad things which may happen to them or to their loves ones; that in fact, bad things happen in life and it is about learning to live with this, accept that it is part of life and embrace the chance to use a variety of practical tools that they can manage their anxiety with.

Lastly, sessions should also explore the core values that matter for clients. This allows therapists to help them focus on their values, as a means of implementing them in their lives whilst also acknowledging core positive elements about themselves. It also helps some clients become motivated and to give them a sense of perspective around things that they can work towards.  'Values' work should therefore not be an after-thought in any counselling package that is devised with the client. It need to be part of the ongoing work, meaning that it is also essential to any healing process.

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