Your website stresses the importance of seeking therapy to overcome anxiety disorder. Is there no hope, then, for people who can’t afford therapy?
There are always reasons to be hopeful. If you were to access the right self-help information AND follow through on the work it recommends, yes, you can achieve a certain degree of success. For example, if you were to faithfully apply the physiological recovery strategies we mention in Chapter 4 in the Recovery Support area, you could overcome your fear of your symptoms and eliminate them in time. In fact, simply reducing your body’s stress and giving it ample time to recover would eliminate all anxiety symptoms. In this regard, you could achieve Level One recovery.
For more information about the Two Levels of Anxiety Disorder Recovery.
But it’s our anxious behaviors that overly stress the body and cause anxiety symptoms. It’s eliminating the behavioral aspects where many people fall short: they can’t reduce their stress sufficiently or for long enough to experience symptom elimination because their anxious behaviors are interfering with recovery.
If you are looking for a complete solution to anxiety unwellness (disorder), addressing the CAUSE of anxiety disorder—anxiety disorder’s underlying factors—via therapy is the best way to achieve meaningful and lasting results.
While self-help materials can play an important role in anxiety disorder recovery, it seldom produces sufficient or lasting results. That’s because there are many challenges to a self-help only approach:
1. There isn’t one resource that contains all the answers. You will have to go through a lot of information to dig out the nuggets that apply specifically to you, and that actually work.
2. There is a lot of conflicting information online about anxiety disorder recovery. You will have to sort through a great deal of information to determine truth from error. And if you are untrained in this area, this can be a difficult task.
3. It’s often difficult to identify your own issues (your specific underlying factors). Since many of our underlying factors are invisible to us, trying to discover them on our own can present a great challenge.
4. If you can’t discover your own issues, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to address them or know if you are working in the right direction. You can spend a lot of time and money chasing down ideas that either don’t work or don’t apply.
5. Healthy change requires healthy support. Since many of us come from unhealthy backgrounds, those around us are often unhealthy themselves and therefore typically resist the healthy changes we need to make. Making healthy change, even if you know what that is, is difficult without healthy support.
6. Most people have a hard time holding themselves accountable to making sustained change. Unless you are extremely strong-willed and focused, making sustained change on your own can be a challenge all in itself.
7. It’s difficult to work through to new behaviors and very easy to fall back to old behaviors. This is often a significant barrier to attaining lasting success.
And there are many more challenges to a self-help only approach to anxiety disorder recovery. This is why most people don’t succeed on their own—it’s not a matter of desire but a matter of the many real barriers to succeeding using self-help information alone.
So yes, there is hope for anyone. But a strictly self-help approach is almost always slower, more time consuming, less effective, less complete, more confusing and frustrating, and less assured than working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist.
We’ve been told by many people that they have shelves, drawers, tablets, and mobile devices filled with anxiety disorder self-help books/DVDs/CDs/ebooks/apps and are still no further ahead, or worse. This was my experience, too. I purchased many books on anxiety, but it was only when I started working with a therapist that my recovery really took shape.
And these are the reasons anxietycentre.com decided to offer therapy support in conjunction with our self-help information. The goal of anxietycentre.com is to be realistic about what it takes to overcome anxiety disorder and provide the combination of tools that work so that people could achieve lasting success.
While this answer may be discouraging to some people who want to use a self-help only approach to recovery, we believe it’s important to be realistic about the expectations of recovery. It would be a disservice to lead people to believe that a strictly self-help approach could produce the same level of success that a therapist-assisted approach can achieve.
Regarding affording therapy, there are many options to consider. For example, many health insurance programs have a provision for therapy. Many Employment Assistance Programs also have a provision for therapy.
For those people who don’t have health insurance, an EAP option, or extra money for a therapist, you may want to consider meeting with a therapist once every two or three weeks rather than once every week, or not getting help at all. Even scant sessions with a therapist can make a big difference. While meeting more infrequently is a slower process, it’s usually still much faster than a self-help only approach.
We’re passionate about seeing people overcome anxiety disorder. Knowing the realities of what it takes to succeed is an important step in the direction of lasting success.
The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder coach, counselor, or therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.
For more information about our Anxiety Counseling option; our Available Anxiety Therapists; to Book An Appointment with one of our anxiety therapists; common Anxiety Signs and Symptoms; common Anxiety Attack Symptoms; the symptoms of panic attack disorder; anxiety Recovery Support area; information about Anxiety; and our Anxiety 101 section; or click on the appropriate link or graphic below:
Return to our Anxiety Frequent Questions page.
Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated October 9, 2018.