Finding the right therapy for anxiety can be daunting for the average person since evaluating the effectiveness of therapy is not something that we are used to doing. There are researchers in numerous universities across Canada and the United States that spend their whole careers studying this question. In fact, you probably have some of the typical questions people have when they are searching for an anxiety therapy that works: What therapy will work and help me treat anxiety? Can my treatment gains be maintained in the long-term? How long does therapy for anxiety last?
Fortunately, both the Canadian and American Psychological Associations have done the work for us. Task Forces from both these Psychological Associations have reviewed 100s of studies involving 10000s of subjects and have concluded that Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, or CBT, has the most scientific evidence for alleviating the symptoms of anxiety, depression and other common psychological problems.
Here are some important research findings that support the effectiveness of CBT. Depending on the study, CBT has been shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms of anxiety in 52-96% of subjects1. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for anxiety has been shown to be as equally efficacious as medication2 and for people to remain symptom-free for years3. Although this does not rule out using medication, CBT is an efficacious therapy to treat anxiety if medication is not your first choice.
If you want some help choosing a Montreal Psychologist specialized to treat anxiety,
make sure to consult these 5 Essential Factors that people have used.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for anxiety is the psychological treatment for you if you want anxiety therapy that is:
- Based on scientific studies and what works to treat anxiety;
- Structured and is based on achieving results;
- Practical and gives you tools to help treat the symptoms of anxiety;
- Focused on the present rather on spending months just talking about the past;
- More short-term rather than long-term (i.e. weeks-to-months vs. months-to-years).
SOME ANXIETY THERAPY TIPS
Here are a few examples of techniques we use when treating anxiety with therapy:
1. Start becoming your own expert on anxiety. As a first step, read the Self-Help Toolkit: How To Overcome Anxiety.
- Pay particular attention to the fact that anxiety is not dangerous in-and-of itself even though it is a very uncomfortable feeling. This is an essential point that we try to communicate during anxiety therapy.
2. Paying attention to your negative 'self-talk’ or ‘inner dialogue’ is another important tool we use during therapy for anxiety.
- An important principle in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is that our inner thoughts cause us to have emotions such as anxiety. Thus, the way you think about events or situations can trigger episodes of anxiety. During therapy, we working on treating anxiety by changing how people interpret what is going on around them. Pay close attention to negative thoughts that can cause anxiety. Some common examples are “Anxiety is dangerous”, “I am not normal because I am frequently anxious” and “I am weak/vulnerable because I am anxious”. If you need a hand, read our free Toolkit: How To Change Negative Thinking.
3. Breath by your 'belly' or 'diaphragm' to help relieve the anxiety you are feeling.
- This technique is called 'Diaphragmatic Breathing'. Make sure that when you are breathing that your belly is moving in-and-out like a balloon. Breathing too fast and with your upper chest can result in an increase in oxygen in your bloodstream. This can lead to typical symptoms of anxiety such as dizziness, light-headedness, confusion, blurred vision, chest pains and feelings of depersonalization.
4. Avoidance is the ‘fuel’ for anxiety and makes the symptoms of anxiety worse in the long-term.
- Try as best you can to not avoid, flee or rush through situations that make you anxious. Instead, expose yourself to your fears starting off with the easier ones. We call this process ‘exposure therapy’ for anxiety. You can read the Toolkit on Exposure Therapy to help you out. Slowly and gradually exposing yourself to what makes you anxious is a powerful tool that helps treat anxiety. Doing so will help you learn that your fear is not real and that you can face it as well.
5. Make sure to do things slowly during exposure.
- Make sure not to rush 'in and out' of a store for example. This behavior is similar to avoiding and is not ‘exposure therapy’. Take your time and use the anxiety therapy techniques described above e.g. breathing properly and talking back to any anxiety-provoking thoughts. In addition, rushing can increase your heart rate, make you sweat, breath faster, etc., all of which are symptoms of anxiety. Thus, rushing and doing things quickly could trigger anxiety.
Need more of a hand on how therapy for anxiety can help?
Call me at (514) 605-7610 or Contact Me for a free 10-15 minute phone consultation
about therapy for anxiety in Montreal.