Anxiety Myth #10: All anxiety therapists are equal
Over the last several anxiety myths we have explained why dealing with anxiety’s underlying factors is vital to lasting success. This is why the help of an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is almost always required to achieve this level of success.
The next anxiety myth to dispel is that all anxiety disorder therapists are equal. They aren’t! It’s been our experience that even though many therapists claim to be able to treat anxiety unwellness, few are good at it. That’s because few have the in-depth knowledge required to be truly helpful, there is a wide range of approaches with many unhelpful, and each therapist has a unique personality and relating style.
Because of these many variables, it’s important to use discernment when selecting a therapist to work with. Choosing the right therapist can lead to effective help and lasting success while choosing the wrong therapist could lead to months and even years of lingering struggle, or worse.
For example, some of our clients have said that a previous therapist had told them that there was no cure for anxiety but that they could only manage symptoms. This isn’t true.
We’ve also had some of our clients tell us that a previous therapist said they needed medication to overcome anxiety. That isn’t true either.
We’ve also been told by some of our clients that a previous therapist said anxiety was caused by a chemical imbalance problem that needed correcting. Which also isn’t true and has been fully disproven. And so on.
Even though these previous therapists said they could treat anxiety unwellness, their premises were completely wrong. We’ve heard many, many more examples of how therapists have given clients misinformation.
Because we struggled with anxiety unwellness (disorder) ourselves, worked through to our own lasting recoveries, and have worked with countless people over the years, we understand the many factors and nuances associated with anxiety disorder. This body of personal and professional knowledge equips our therapists with all of the tools and strategies required to help their clients on the road to lasting success.
We also recognized early on that getting to the heart of the issues that cause problematic anxiety was integral to effective and lasting success. To that end, our therapists use a therapist-led direct approach rather than a client-led indirect approach.
By direct we mean, we first seek to discover the underlying factors – the core reasons for a struggle with problematic anxiety – for each client specifically. We do this using a proprietary diagnostic system that quickly – within a couple of hours – uncovers the many specific factors for each person. Then, we address those factors one at a time through education, direction, and support. As each factor is addressed, recovery unfolds.
Rather than using an indirect approach - spending months or years trying to discover the reasons for problematic anxiety - we do that in the space of a few sessions. Then, we help our clients directly address their reasons so that they can more quickly move toward lasting recovery.
This doesn’t mean we aren’t careful, methodical, understanding, empathetic, and patient. But that getting our clients’ lives back on track as quickly and effectively as possible is a high priority.
Another reason is that without personal experience with anxiety unwellness - both as a sufferer and as someone who has completely overcome it – there are many aspects of anxiety and recovery that are often trivialized or missed entirely. These often play an important role in attaining and maintaining lasting success.
It’s true that most therapists can help people with mild anxiety. But so can good self-help information. It’s another story for moderate degree anxiety and above, which almost always requires the help of a specialist’s experience and support.
How can this myth hamper recovery?
If you believe all therapists are equal and have worked with one but didn’t find it helpful, this could lead you to believe working with a therapist isn’t helpful, and therefore, there’s no hope for recovery. This conclusion could cause further needless struggle with anxiety (and even feeling depressed) when working with a different therapist could have brought success. In this case, the problem wasn’t that you had resistant or unusual anxiety, but that the therapist and/or approach wasn’t effective.
Many people have said they felt 'doomed' to a life of struggle with anxiety since they didn’t find the therapist helpful.
Unfortunately, we've encountered this many times over the years when clients from other therapists have told us they felt hopeless because the therapy they tried didn't work, which resulted in the hopeless and helpless scenario we mentioned earlier.
Since we know therapy works, if a person is struggling with recovery, that generally means either the person isn’t getting the right information, isn’t doing the work required, or there is a disconnect in the relationship between the client and therapist. Correcting the problem gets the client on track to recovery.
How can this myth make things worse?
Anxiety occurs when we worry that something bad or harmful may happen. A common fear is getting, contracting, or inheriting a condition that is serious and irreversible, which could ruin a person’s life. If a person concludes that there is no hope of overcoming anxiety unwellness, this conclusion could lead to deeper anxiety and despair, which can also manifest as depression (when a person feels hopeless, helpless, and trapped).
Rather than just dealing with the anxiety they previously had, believing there is no hope can make anxiety (and depression) much worse.
When people believe they have no hope, this mindset can produce the very outcome they fear and dread, which creates more anxiety and depression.
But if you believe anxiety unwellness can be successfully resolved with the right information, help, and support, that realization alone can bring hope, which can foster a desire to work at becoming well. And when you see meaningful results…and lasting results…this confidence can feed forward toward lasting success.
Anxiety isn’t about something that’s ‘gone wrong’ and that you can’t correct. Anxiety is about behavior that all of us can change and control when we know how. Working with an experienced anxiety therapist, coach, or counsellor can teach you those important skills.
All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced problematic anxiety and know how out of control it can seem. But we also know that there are many ways we can gain control over it. Getting the right information, help, and support is all that is required to overcome anxiety unwellness for good. No one needs to suffer needlessly!
The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - we call these core causes the underlying factors of anxiety - a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.
For more information about our Anxiety Therapy, Coaching, Counseling option; our Available Anxiety Therapists; to Book An Appointment with one of our anxiety therapists; common Symptoms of Anxiety; Anxiety Attack Symptoms; anxiety Recovery Support area; common Anxiety Myths; and our Anxiety 101 section; or click on the appropriate graphic below:
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Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated August 2015.