Anxiety Myth #11: You can completely overcome anxiety disorder with only a few therapy sessions.
Another common myth often associated with anxiety unwellness is that you can completely overcome anxiety disorder with just a few therapy sessions.
While working with a therapist for only a few sessions can be beneficial, it’s unrealistic to think you will be able to identify and successfully address all of the underlying factors commonly associated with a struggle with problematic anxiety in a short period of time. It takes more than just a few therapy sessions to make meaningful and lasting change since a great many of anxiety’s underlying factors have taken years to develop and habituate.
Due to the amount of recovery information that needs to be communicated, discussed, and implemented, and based on how the change process works – change occurs slowly and over time - working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist should be viewed as a long-term proposition if meaningful and lasting results are desired.
For example, we have identified over 90 behaviors that can cause issues with anxiety. When you factor in the amount of time it takes to learn and internalize new information, and the time it takes to make meaningful and lasting change, most of our successful clients have worked with a coach/therapist for one to many years. And this is with meeting with their coach/therapist for a minimum of a one-hour session once per week.
Because anxiety disorder is caused by unhealthy behavior, overcoming it takes sustained effort and commitment. Similar to learning and applying anything new, just as you can’t get an MBA with only 10 hours of class time, most anxiety disorder sufferers can’t fully overcome anxiety disorder and its many underlying factors with only 10 coaching/therapy sessions.
So, the bad news is that overcoming anxiety disorder requires work, and usually lots of it. The good news, however, is that anyone can do this work with the right information, help, and support. The benefits of doing this work, however, are many and last a lifetime.
How can this myth hamper recovery?
If you believe you can overcome anxiety unwellness in just a few coaching/therapy sessions, yet find that you are still struggling after your sessions have ended, you may believe coaching/therapy didn’t work for you and, as a result, there’s no hope for recovery. This conclusion could cause further needless struggle with anxiety (and even feeling depressed). In this case, the problem wasn’t that coaching/therapy didn’t work for you but that the work was insufficient to bring about meaningful success.
Many people have said they felt 'doomed' to a life of struggle with anxiety since they didn’t find therapy helpful.
Unfortunately, we've encountered this many times over the years when clients who have had only a few coaching/therapy sessions have told us they felt hopeless because therapy didn’t work for them.
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 hasn’t worked at recovery long enough. Correcting the problem puts recovery back on track.
How can this myth make things worse?
Anxiety occurs when we behave apprehensively. 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 dread: long-term hardship.
But if you believe anxiety unwellness can be successfully resolved with the right information, help, support, and sustained effort, that realization alone can bring hope, which can foster a desire to work at becoming well. And when you begin to see meaningful results…and lasting results…this confidence can feed forward toward lasting recovery.
This doesn’t mean that having only a few coaching/therapy sessions won’t be helpful. With the right coach/therapist, every session should be helpful. But, if you want complete recovery, meaning you’ve dealt with all of the issues that commonly cause a struggle with problematic anxiety, working the complete program takes time…and much more than a few sessions.
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, as well as assist and support you through to lasting success.
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 overcome it. Getting the right information, help, and support, and then combining that with sufficient effort, is all that is required to overcome anxiety unwellness for good. No one needs to suffer needlessly!
For more information about the Two Levels of Anxiety Disorder Recovery.
For more information about our Anxiety 101 section.
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 November 2015.