Does counselling help anxiety?

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Health Assured team

07 May 2019

Extremely common, anxiety is on the rise everywhere.

That restlessness, irritability and sense of dread you feel, though, can be eased. Counselling for depression and anxiety is regarded as equal to therapies like CBT by researchers.

If you’re suffering from common symptoms of anxiety like:

  • Nervousness, tension and restlessness
  • A sense of impending danger or dread
  • Constant high heart rate
  • Rapid breathing, sweating and trembling
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Avoiding or putting off things that make you worry

then it could be time to look into counselling for your anxiety.

Luckily, there are many avenues of help available for those suffering from ill mental health. Anxiety counselling is available on the NHS, privately, and with employee benefits such as an EAP.


What anxiety counselling techniques are available?

Aside from simply finding a counsellor and talking through your anxiety issues and triggers, there are a few recommended counselling techniques for anxiety.


  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for anxiety

CBT is a way of managing issues by changing the way you think and behave. It’s used to treat many mental and physical health problems but is especially effective at treating anxiety.

You’ll work with a therapist to break down your problems into smaller, more manageable parts. And you’ll learn techniques for dealing with each of them in turn. You need to commit to these changes—they only work if you stick with them.

  • Exposure therapy for anxiety

It’s natural to avoid anxiety triggers. Panic attacks and stress aren’t pleasant sensations, so we naturally build up defences and work out ways around our issues.

Exposure therapy changes that. It’s a process of desensitisation. You’ll learn to face the things that make you anxious—first by talking about them, then by physically confronting them

This can be a fairly extreme method of stress and anxiety counselling, and it’s not recommended for everyone. But the gradual challenging of your fears is beneficial in the long run.

  • Other therapies for anxiety

There are a few other things you can do outside of the formal therapies. These will help you to relax, and can aid with other mental health issues you’re facing:

  • Exercise—just getting up and moving about helps. You don’t need to become a dedicated gym-goer—though that isn’t a bad ideaa brisk walk or some gardening will release endorphins. Just get your heart rate up a little, for an hour a day.
  • Mindfulness—take some time to stop, breathe and relax. Concentrate on the colours and sounds around you. Mindfulness is a great way to combat panic attacks—counting to ten while breathing out will calm you.
  • Hypnosis—while unproven, hypnosis works for some people. Being placed into a state of deep relaxation can help you face the triggers that cause your anxiety.

What treatments are available for anxiety?

There are several medications available—SSRI’s, SNRI’s, anticonvulsants and benzodiazepines.

Each of these medications has pros and cons. It’s very important that you talk to your GP and fully understand the potential risks before committing to a course of medication.


So, can counselling help with anxiety?

The simple answer—yes.

But it’s never that simple. The therapies available rely on you to make a commitment. Changing behaviour is never easy. Once you start on that journey toward an anxiety-free life, however, you’ll be glad you did.


If you’d like to find out more information on any of the topics mentioned in this article, please contact Health Assured on 0333 255 9867.

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