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What is Anxiety?

The word 'anxiety' is being so widely used that often we automatically assume what it is, and how we should treat it. However, just like with anything else, before we treat anxiety, we must first understand what it is and what its functions are in the context of one's life. What works for one, might not work for another as no one size fits all.

Furthermore, anxiety as well as other mental health issues, could be seen and explained with the individual's personality in mind, as some personalities are more anxious than others, in which case a different approach would be necessary. Additionally, extreme levels of anxiety could result in dissociation to escape the unbearable feeling.

Highly respected professionals in the field of neuroscience and neuro-psychoanalysis distinguish between 'panic based' anxiety and 'fear based' anxiety - engaging and steaming from different systems and requiring different levels of understanding and engagement.

Psychotherapy for Anxiety

Psychotherapy is a type of treatment that involves talking to a therapist about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. It also involves examining how you relate to yourself, to others and to your therapist among other aspects of life. It's about holding space, understanding but also gently challenging what is no longer helpful.

It's known that one of the most common types of treatments for anxiety is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of therapy that focuses on changing the way you think and behave in order to reduce anxiety symptoms.

Another type of treatment approach that is often used to treat anxiety is exposure therapy. Exposure therapy involves gradually exposing yourself to the things that you are afraid of in a safe and controlled environment. This can help you to learn that your fears are not actually dangerous and that you can cope with them.


The efficacy of the above would depend on what type of anxiety you have and how it fits with the rest of your life, your personality, your culture, your individual needs and circumstances. It is important to talk to a mental health professional to discuss your situation and treatment options.

Tips and Strategies? - do they work?

Some additional tips not only for managing stress and anxiety but to help maintain your sense of wellbeing could be:

  • Get regular exercise. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and improve your mood
  • Eat a healthy diet. Eating variety of healthy foods can help to improve your energy levels and overall well-being.
  • Get enough sleep. When you are well-rested, you are better able to cope with stress.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol can worsen anxiety and depression symptoms.
  • Practice relaxation techniques. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and meditation can help to calm your mind and body.
  • Join a support group. Talking to others who understand what you are going through could be helpful. However, it could also be triggering.

Again, it should be emphasises, that not all therapies, approaches and the tips above, are suitable for everyone. Mindfulness with eyes closed for example could trigger a trauma response in some, so please take care and pay attention to how you feel when engaging with some of these activities.

My approach

As relational and psychodynamic therapist, in sessions I might draw on some the above tips, however these do not form the main foundation of my work. Usually I don't prescribe tips and strategies, as often this could be experienced as failing you, if you for example cannot get a good night of sleep due to what might be happening to you right now. I would hope, however that sleep would return to you while we navigate safety, recovery and healing.

If you are struggling with anxiety, please reach out. Together we could work on the sometimes tricky terrain not only of your own mind, but also of your situational cercumstances. Contact me now for help.