Anxiety

Anxiety can present itself in many different ways. It may prevent you from meeting new people or enjoying the company of your friends (social anxiety), you may feel frightened of a particular thing (phobia) or preoccupied about your health (health anxiety). Any of these situations could make you feel shaky, hot, dizzy, sick, short of breath, as if your heart is going to jump out of your chest. You might find yourself often having thoughts such as ‘something embarrassing will happen and I will be humiliated’, ‘ if I go near it I’ll have a heart attack’, ‘what if there is something seriously wrong this time’.

I use CBT to help address anxiety problems as recommended in the NICE guidelines. The sessions usually last for an hour and we meet weekly. The number of sessions usually ranges from 6-12. We cover a range of topics including:

  • understanding how anxiety develops and what keeps it going
  • identifying manageable goals
  • learning to use relaxation
  • trying out new behaviours
  • adjusting anxious thinking
  • planning for the future

 

Depression

Depression is a common problem for many people. Symptoms include feeling tearful, hopeless, low and de-motivated. These symptoms (and many others) can last for weeks or months. There are often physical problems such as changes in sleep patterns, changes in eating and general lack of energy. It may be that you feel reluctant to go to work, see friends or continue with interests you used to enjoy.

The NICE guidelines for depression identify CBT as the treatment of choice for depression. The activities which are involved in addressing depression using CBT are:

  • developing understanding about the development of depression
  • identifying manageable goals
  • introducing rewarding activities
  • addressing unhelpful thinking using mindfulness
  • trying out new behaviours
  • planning for the future

 

Stress

Stress can be overwhelming and can lead to ‘burn out’. People who are struggling with stress may experience an inability to perform usual daily tasks, sleeping problems, overwhelming anxious thinking, panic which is triggered by seemingly trivial things, loss of appetite, difficulty concentraing & withdrawal from friends and family.

Stress affects people in different ways so various approaches are useful for dealing with it. Some of the techniques I use include:

  • learning relaxation appropriate for your own life
  • accepting past decisions & facing fears
  • recognising strengths
  • re-prioritising
  • identifying new sources of support
  • adjusting anxious thinking
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