When we experience a stressor, such as a job interview or academic demands, a certain level of anxiety is common. However, when anxiety persists and for no obvious reason individuals often experience a reduced quality of life. Some symptoms of anxiety include restlessness/feeling on edge, racing heartbeat, excessive worrying, and avoiding situations that are anxiety provoking.
The focus of therapy involves understanding how clients experience anxiety and the personal meaning that they attribute to the anxiety. We use a variety of mindfulness approaches to gain awareness of bodily responses to anxiety and to understand the interconnectedness between thoughts, emotions, and physiology. A core process of working through anxiety is through exploration rather than through avoidance.
In order to help clients explore their anxiety I work largely with the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy model, which focuses on changing the client’s relationship to the anxiety in order to make the symptoms more tolerable. Through numerous strategies and experiential exercises, clients often discover that although anxiety is unpleasant, they have the ability to manage unpleasant feelings without running away from them.