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Anxiety counselling service in Melbourne

Anxiety is common in our fast-paced modern world and it places a strain on many different aspects of our lives.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a complex response to stress or uncertainty that impacts how we think, feel and behave. This can range from everyday worries, which we all experience at some point, to more specific forms of anxiety such as phobias, social anxiety, health anxiety, performance anxiety and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).

It’s important to note that anxiety is a natural response to perceived threats or challenges, but when it becomes ongoing or uncontrollable, it may be necessary to seek help.

Experiences that we have had throughout our life can leave us feeling overwhelmed and out of control, and as a result, our nervous systems learn to be anxious as a warning that we may be under threat.

Do I Have Anxiety?

Since the lockdowns in Melbourne as a result of the pandemic, many people Australia-wide have felt symptoms of anxiety.  

There are several signs that you might be experiencing anxiety. These may be cognitive (thinking), emotional, physical or behavioural.

Cognitive:

  • Excessive worry
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Racing thoughts
  • Focus on the negative

Emotional:

  • Irrational fears
  • Irritability and anger
  • Chronic guilt
  • Sadness and burnout
  • Worry and overwhelm.

Physical:

  • Muscular tension
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue

Behavioural:

  • Avoiding certain situations
  • Feeling restless
  • Engaging in repetitive coping behaviours
  • Addictive behaviours

Note: to determine if you have a clinical anxiety disorder requires a professional diagnosis via a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Image of an African American adolescent during psychotherapy session.

How can anxiety counselling help me?

There is an abundance of research to suggest that counselling is effective for anxiety. Some of the ways that counselling may help anxiety include:

  • Developing mindfulness skills
  • Improving emotional resilience
  • Improving self-esteem
  • Identify triggers
  • Encourage self-reflection
  • Increase understanding and awareness

What does counselling for anxiety look like?

Counselling for anxiety is a collaborative process between individuals and their therapists that aims to understand and manage symptoms related to anxiety. This may include experiences such as intrusive thoughts, physical tension, chronic worry, and avoidance behaviours.

In therapy we provide a safe, non-judgemental space for exploring the thoughts, feelings and behaviours related to our anxiety and unpacking any of the root causes. This can also include learning about anxiety (psychoeducation), exposure therapy, and nervous system regulation to help you feel more confident and in control.  

What are some common forms of anxiety?

Specific phobias, which involves intense and often irrational fears of specific objects or situations. Some common forms include but are not limited to heights, spiders and snakes, or flying.

Social Anxiety occurs when we struggle with fear and self-consciousness in social situations. This may become a problem when it leads to avoidance of social situations and gets in the way of being able to form social bonds or community. This may develop because of challenges in socialisation early in life, such as bullying, migration or a struggle to fit in.

Health Anxiety involves excessive worry about one’s health and constant concern over perceived illnesses or medical conditions. This may be passed down because of overprotective parents or develop later in life after an episode of medical trauma.

Performance Anxiety happens when anxiety is triggers in events where there is a perceived pressure to perform, such as in public speaking, exams, work functions, artistic performance or sexual encounters.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is diagnosed when someone experiences excessive and uncontrollable worry and anxiety about their life for the majority of days for at least 6 months. It must also be the case that the anxiety is not better explained by another condition such as panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, PTSD or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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