Counselling is a form of talk therapy, and has been thought of, for many years, to be one of the best approaches for helping with anxiety.
It definitely has its place and can be beneficial. Although, this depends on the practitioner and their skill level, as well as their objective.
Many times I have had clients tell me that they tried counselling for anxiety and found that they got stuck…
Often, they say : “At first I found it helpful, but then I just felt like I was saying the same things over and over again and I did not really learn any strategies or tools.”
Most people who seek help with me have tried counselling, and I have heard a few great stories; how it was super helpful for people in many different areas of life. But for overcoming anxiety, it’s an approach that will only work for a small group of people in a limited way because it does not address the body or the Nervous system - which is what is needed to overcome anxiety.
In saying that, TALK therapy / counselling can be so valuable for getting a new perspective and sometimes this can take you out of being stuck, out of pain, and have a massive, powerful shift in life. [Advantages of anxiety counselling]
For some people, talking about the past will cause them to get more stuck and bound, and certain types of therapies that focus on the past can cause some people more harm - I have seen this many times. Many approaches take a very long time - often years! And with no real specific end goal.
But if you find a counsellor who is skilled and can match you with the tools you need, you could make some real progress at addressing the mindset aspect of anxiety.
What counselling is best for anxiety?
CBT is commonly thought of to be the best approach for helping people overcome anxiety. But in my experience, it's not the method, but the practitioner.
I have met and worked with many therapists, counsellors and psychologists as clients, and most of my clients have been to them before they came to me, so I can tell you with some level of certainty that it is the practitioner more than method.
But more than just the practitioner, it’s what their goal is with care.
How to detect a 'bad' practitioner:
I will give you an example of a really bad ‘fit’.
A client of mine told me they went to the GP for help with her anxiety. The Doctor suggested medication, but she said she was trying to go for more of a more holistic, drug-free approach. The Doctor then referred them to a psychologist.
The psychologist recommended she take medication, even when her goal for therapy was to not take them. She then told me that the whole session (which she had to pay over $200 for) was the psychologist trying to convince her to take them and showing evidence, and even saying that SHE (the psychologist) was on them!!! The psychologist was on them for her anxiety and was trying to get the person who said she did not want them to start taking them…
This story blew my mind.
She loved our approach and loved that she overcame her anxiety… It made me wonder how many people who may not be as strong willed, when a Doctor or psychologist suggests taking meds, they have just accepted it!
To me, rather than look up what type of therapist, rather than searching CBT or ACT or NLP, take a note of the practitioner and see if you can see their success stories. See if you connect to their philosophy of healing.
And also pay attention to their goal for you.
How long does therapy for anxiety take?
This question is quite hard to answer, because there are so many variables and so many approaches. I have had clients come to me who have been under therapy for over a decade, and still stuck with their problems.
I remember this client who came to me and had been to a therapist (a few, actually) for over a decade, WEEKLY - and when she came to me, she was shocked at how much progress she made. She was only with me for a few months before she stopped. We got her off her meds and to a point where she could say she was happy with life and able to deal with life's stresses. She stopped coming in because her goal was to be independent and strong; and she had this happen.
12-Week Method: NSA and Mindset Retraining
I have worked with hundreds of people with my methods : NSA and mindset retraining, and developed what I do over the years of working with people. I normally offer people a 12 week course, as this is what most people seem to need to ‘re-program’ their Nervous system and to work on cultivating a new mindset.
Although most people do this in 12 weeks, I have worked with people who have taken a lot longer. The factors include how long the person has it, how old they are, what current life situation (current stresses) the person is in, if they have other conditions contributing to anxiety or if they are on medication, how many traumas they have gone through or what early childhood was like.
In saying that, I have seen people with massive traumas, very difficult traumatic starts, and on meds with current stresses, do really really well in as little as 12 weeks with our program.