Anxiety Therapy

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders along with depression. Symptoms of anxiety include increased heart rate, shortness of breath, body tension, racing thoughts, insomnia, and worry.

If you struggle with anxiety, you know how debilitating it can be to your ability to function at home, work, or school. You may feel like you know you don’t have anything to fear in certain situations, but your body responds like you do. It’s like your body is responding to a false alarm.

You may also struggle with panic attacks. It’s not uncommon for people to go to the emergency room, believing they are having a heart attack because panic attacks cause you to feel like you’re dying. The good news is that panic attacks are highly treatable with EMDR. 

Where Does Anxiety Come From?

Anxiety is a misfire of the brain and body’s fear response, registering fear when it doesn’t need to. There are two parts to the nervous system, the sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic is responsible for activating the body’s fight, flight, or freeze system to respond to a dangerous situation. This is designed to be a short response. However, with chronic anxiety or trauma, the sympathetic nervous system is overactive. The parasympathetic response is also known as rest and digest. This part of the nervous system is responsible for bringing calm back into the body. A non-medical way to activate the parasympathetic nervous system is by using a vagal nerve stimulating device.

Oftentimes, the roots of chronic anxiety start in childhood or adolescence where self-esteem building blocks are most vulnerable. Parents, teachers, coaches or other authority figures may have been harsh or critical, causing you to fear punishment or retaliation for simply sharing true thoughts or feelings. They may have been absent where you just had to figure out life on your own. On the other extreme, your parents may have been supportive, but anxious and overprotective, leading you to unhealthy dependence and unprepared to handle situations on your own. Traumatic experiences may have caused your nervous system to be on high alert, waiting for the next “bad thing” to happen.

What are Some Symptoms of  Chronic Anxiety in Adulthood?

Fear that others will criticize you or become angry at you

Difficulty setting boundaries 

Difficulty forming or maintaining intimate relationships

Codependent relationships (working hard to keep everyone else happy)

Low self-esteem/ self-worth

Being easily overwhelmed 

Withdrawal from day to day life tasks (work, home, school)

Can Anxiety be Treated Without Medication?

It depends on the individual. Some people need medication in order to reach stability to be able to function well enough to engage with therapy until they can feel better. Some people feel they function best when they stay on a maintenance dose of medication. Others use supplement/herbal blends like At Ease or In Joy.

Ultimately, the choice is yours, and I will support you in the process no matter where you are at. For more information:

What are Some Common Treatments for Anxiety?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most popular treatments for anxiety. Cognitive Behavioral therapy involves examining your thought process for unhelpful ways of thinking such as “all or nothing” or “overgeneralization.” CBT teaches behaviors like deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation to manage anxiety responses as they come up. While these things can be helpful, I belive that interventions like CBT are always going to fall short because they aren’t adequately tapping into the nervous system like EMDR does to form new connections in the brain. While people often seek therapy for their anxiety due to a recent life stress, a past experience is often exacerbating the present issue. 

By getting to the root of the anxiety, self-esteem, or relationship issues in the first place, there is less need for tons of skill building to manage day to day life. I believe in helping people build confidence to accept and handle distressing situations. One of the ways I do this is by teaching mindfulness practice. Mindfulness helps you be able to sit with your thoughts, emotions, and body sensations. I’ve even created a self-help course for Christians called Reclaiming the Mind: Learning to be Present

Goal setting in anxiety reduction is important. Rather than just thinking about what you don’t want to have (anxiety), it’s important to think about what you do want to have such as being able to socialize without intense fear, set boundaries, receive constructive criticism, or be able to navigate tasks like driving or going to the grocery store. People usually come to see me because they are looking for a particular result from therapy.  

While you won’t be able to rid yourself of all anxiety forever, anxiety is treatable and can be reduced to a more manageable level where you can function healthily in your day to day life. I would love to talk with you about that more to see how I can help you. 

Hours:

M, T, TH- 8:00am (telehealth only), 9:00-5:00pm (in person or telehealth) appointments available.

F- intensives (6 hour blocks of therapy), multiple days available upon request.

Service area:

Anywhere in Tennessee! Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Cookeville, Lebanon, Franklin, Brentwood, Nolensville, Mt. Juliet, Hermitage, Clarksville, Jackson, Johnson City, Bartlett

Phone: 615-933-8232

Fax: 615-640-3606

Address:

617 Potomac Pl, Unit 403

Smyrna, TN 37167

Since I'm in session most of the day, the fastest and most efficient way to reach me is through the website!