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  • Janet Chang

What Does Therapy for Anxiety Involve?

Research shows that the most efficacious treatment for anxiety disorders is a combination of medication and psychological therapy. Still Waters Psychology offers psychotherapy by a trained and qualified clinical psychologist who will tailor therapy to suit your individual needs. So, what does psychotherapy for anxiety involve, you may ask?


1. Psychotherapy first starts with an intake assessment

During the intake assessment, your psychologist will ask you questions about your anxiety (e.g., symptoms, how it affects you, when did it start). He/she will also ask you questions about your background (e.g., your childhood, family, significant relationships) in order to understand you better and also understand the roots and origins of your anxiety problems. This process may take 1 session for some, and longer for others.


2. Next, your psychologist will share feedback about the assessment with you

If we want to deal with a problem, we must first understand the problem. This is the first goal in psychotherapy. Your psychologist will take time to help you understand the origins of your anxiety issues, and the factors that might be maintaining your problems. This process will be a collaborative one, involving a two-way discussion and exploration. Your psychologist will also give you information about your diagnosis (if any), and discuss possible treatment plans. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you have any!


In helping you to understand your anxiety and the vicious cycles maintaining your anxiety, your psychologist may also ask you to do some recording or journaling of your triggers. Through this, you will uncover the unhelpful thoughts and behaviours that may be contributing to your problem.


3. Once equipped with an understanding of the problem, your psychologist will teach you skills to manage anxiety.

Examples of such skills include:

- Relaxation skills to manage the physiological symptoms of anxiety (e.g., breathing techniques, muscle relaxation exercises)

- Relaxation skills to help clear your mind

- Mindfulness meditation exercises

- Self-care and self-compassion exercises

- Recognising and changing unhelpful thinking patterns


4. If you are taking steps to avoid anxiety triggers in a way that is affecting your life, your psychologist will work with you to face your fears.

The best way to overcome our fears is to face it- this is the main principle in exposure therapy. Your psychologist will come up with a plan with you to gradually face your fears so that you will desensitise to them over time, and develop greater confidence in your ability to deal with them.


5. Where indicated, and if you are willing, your psychologist may also go deeper into exploring the childhood origins of your anxiety to correct previous negative experiences or heal past hurts.


The approach your psychologist takes with you will depend on his/her theoretical orientation. There is no one-size-fits all approach. At Still Waters Psychology, your psychologist will tailor psychotherapy to your individual needs and preferences, and recommend a course of therapy based on her assessment of what is driving your anxiety issues.


To find out more or book an appointment,