Do you worry too much?

Do you feel anxious much of the time? Do you feel a lack of peace in your life? Do you find it hard to make decisions? Do you have trouble sleeping because you worry too much?  You may remember times in your life where you did not feel so tense and preoccupied, and wonder how you can return to feeling more at ease.

Anxiety is becoming increasingly common.

According to large population-based surveys, up to 33.7% of the population is affected by an anxiety disorder during their lifetime.  If people that had anxiety that did not meet the criteria for anxiety disorder were included, that percentage would be MUCH higher. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental condition.

I believe one cause of the increase in anxiety is the decrease in a sense of community. Although social media can provide connections to people who live far away, it also has had the result of less in person relationships and caused some people to feel too much alone. More nationwide bad weather, rising food and health care costs, and jobs requiring longer work hours have put  people on edge.

Another common cause of anxiety is feeling lack of self-confidence or insecurity. Often children do not have their strengths focused on enough as they are growing up. People usually gain attention by others by earning achievements  instead of being accepted just as they are.

The good news, however, is that with a compassionate experienced therapist who has treated many people with anxiety problems, you can let go of much of your anxiety and gain self- confidence.

My approach is to first ask questions for a detailed history of your past to learn what has interfered with feeling good about yourself. Next I will help you identify negative beliefs you have, such as “I am not good enough” or “The world is a dangerous place” or “I can’t trust anyone”.  Sometimes I use cognitive therapy approaches. Other times I use an approach taught by Katie Bryon called “The Work” that looks squarely at how true these beliefs are.

I often use the therapeutic technique of EMDR to help my clients process past painful experiences so that these experiences don’t continue to affect how they feel in your present life. Many times people do not realize how an experience they have not thought of in years comes up for them as being part of the reason they feel as scared or uneasy as they do feel. Once these experiences/memories are processed, my clients feel differently about themselves and/or other people in their lives.

EMDR can also  assist my clients to look at the larger picture- a broader approach in their lives. Feeling scared is part of being human but allowing the fear to limit one’s actions or life is what I work to prevent.  Breaking down a goal that causes anxiety into smaller more manageable and less scary actions can be very helpful.  I call this “chunking it down.”

Interacting in social situations often causes anxiety for people. I teach social skills, practice helping my clients ask questions and respond to questions in social situations, do role plays, and help clients visualize feeling at ease in social settings.

If a client is committed to work with me on his/her anxiety problems and is willing to complete simple homework assignments, typically that anxiety will decrease gradually.

You may still have anxiety about seeking therapy for anxiety…

“I know I have a problem with anxiety but I don’t really want to go to therapy for this. Why can’t I just reduce the anxiety on my own?”

Some brains are wired to worry more easily than others. People who have been abused or neglected are more anxious.  Some personality types worry more than other personality types. People who are highly sensitive have such good imaginations that they can scare themselves much more easily than people who are less imaginative. People who are highly sensitive can feel the fear in the person sitting next to them. People who are highly intelligent are twice as likely to have anxiety problems compared to the average rates of anxiety in people. For these sensitive people reducing anxiety is not easy on one’s own.  The good news is that these same people who tend to worry more than others can be more responsive to therapy than people who are less sensitive.

“I have tried meditation, mindfulness therapy, yoga and other practices. These methods helped me relax when I was doing them but later in the day I would still feel anxious. Why do you think you can help me when these methods did not help me?”

The methods I use go deeper than the methods you mentioned. I fully support using those methods too however I will delve into past experiences that are associated and cause your anxiety. Maybe you were bullied as a young teen and this still affects you. Maybe your parent(s) were too overwhelmed to give you the quality attention you needed to help you feel secure as you were growing up. Possibly as a child you absorbed the worry one of your parents had. I will help you heal from these experiences so that you can become free of them.

“I am worried I do not have enough time to come for therapy”

The methods I use generally shorten the time one needs to spend in therapy. If you want to progress faster, I can give you more homework assignments that you can do in between sessions.  I can do video conference sessions if you want to save the driving time.  Think how you will increase the amount of time you feel happy by decreasing anxiety by receiving therapy with me. It a wise investment of your time that will pay off for the rest of your life.

If you think that you might want to work with me but have some questions, please feel free to call me at 586-799-2399 for a free 15 minute consultation. I welcome your calls. Or you can email me at