Anxiety is a normal human experience that alerts us when something that we have been avoiding (feelings, thoughts, memories, decisions) are in need of attention. Anxiety is usually accompanied by discomfort, physically and emotionally.
You may experience difficulty with sleep, shortness of breath, restlessness, aches and pains, tension in your body, gastrointestinal problems, or problems with concentration.
Anxiety can also be related to patterns of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that threaten our sense of safety, or our needs for control, certainty, approval, and love.
How Does Therapy for Anxiety Help?
Therapy for Anxiety can help you learn to identify internal and external factors that make you anxious, learn skills to regulate your nervous system, and face those fears that keep you stuck in reactivity or paralysis.
Our Anxiety Therapists in Washington DC
How is anxiety treated in psychotherapy?
Although we tailor treatment of anxiety to the uniqueness of each of our clients, therapy for anxiety involves some common elements:
- Identifying patterns of thoughts or beliefs that contribute to the anxious mind.
- Body-based strategies to help regulate (calm down) the nervous system.
- Exposure to previously avoided triggers (including feelings, thoughts, memories, or stimulus).
Pathways of Anxiety Discharge
Striated Muscle: This type anxiety discharge is often described as tension in the big muscles of our body. This can also result in tension headaches. GREEN LIGHT: this anxiety prepares us for action. We maybe within our window of tolerance.
Smooth Muscle: upset stomach, nausea, throwing up. YELLOW LIGHT: this level of anxiety tells us that we are getting outside of our window of tolerance, and we need to engage in strategies to bring anxiety down.
Cognitive-Perceptual: this is the RED LIGHT kind of anxiety. It tells us that we are way out of our window of tolerance. We may experience dizziness, confusion, blurry vision, ringing in the ears, or may dissociate (feelings of depersonalization, derealization, not being present).