Does Psychotherapy help you to overcome anxiety?

I am really wondering about this? I have been having therapy for a little while now and am slowly realising that anxiety seems to be the cause of a lot of difficulties I have been experiencing. It's one thing becoming more aware of youself but being able to change and move towards being the person you really want to be. That's a different ball game altogether. Will I ever be able to make it? The truth is.. I don't know.

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  • I feel exactly the same at rock bottom + feelin very pesamistic. Dont hav any hope at all, people tell u 2 relax + stop thinkin bout it but if u could u would. I really hav tried 2 relax doin techniches + breathin in fct tried everythin but wiv out sucsess. Really do feel like a lost cause:-)

  • i taught as a relaxation therapist for over 30 years and also specialized in hypnotherapy and in a class I would get some people who went into deep relaxation in 10 minutes,others who needed the whole course of 1 hour a week for 10 weeks and some who needed intensive individual work to learn to relax.

    When i first tried it took me 15 minutes a day of active focused exercise practice for 6 months before it clicked but i'm so glad i learnt,from that day to this,i can practice deep relaxation/meditation/guided visualization whenever i want in under 2 minutes so it's been worth it.Having said this it helps hugely with extreme panic but is less good with phobias for me.

  • Hi. lee. (and Heavens). Lost cause!! We dont have those on here! As whywhy says, no one is a lost cause. So from this moment we will stop regarding you as a lost cause. It means you have not had or found the right treatment or therapy for you. Some go through life not finding it. But you have started well by being here. As well as support you will find advice and useful guidance. You do have hope in spite of what you feel. Everyone has a great reservoir of it but we have to tap into it. If you stay with us we will give it to you, but stick it out and don't despair. Keep reading the posts from these wonderful and courageous people. Help is at hand. Best wishes. jonathan.

  • Thank u:-)

  • So sorry i couldnt b more possitive but im sure phycotherapy as lots of sucsess in fact ive raid that it actually does:-)

  • You are so not a loss cause , not one of us are , please dont feel that

    you sound very low at the moment , but remember the only way is up !

    There is not a quick fix with this , if only there was

    Keep going , you will get there , just take it a day at a time , you will find what works for you , just takes time

    Thinking about you

    whywhy x

  • Hello Heavens. Therapy wasn't helping me it was just making me really depressed as every week just spent an hour talking about things I don't like about myself. So I stopped after three weeks and never went back for the other three sessions.

    I have realised through self help books that the cause of my anxiety is my lack of confidence and low self asteem so I am working hard at that every day and it is having VERY positive results. I have also stopped being a perfectionist (and setting myself unrealistic targets that even a confident person would struggle to achieve) as this is what was keeping my self asteem/confidence low (You will NEVER be perfect so don't waste time/energy trying to be). No-one else is perfect so why do you have to be. You don't.

    Also find out what makes you anxious and why and then contest that negative (irrational) thought and ask for evidence. YES it will be an irrational thought that causes anxiety. e.g. I can't go on the bus because I will faint!! contest this thought with have you EVER fainted on a bus. No!!! then why would you faint now? Ask for evidence in your thoughts.

    Anxiety comes from negative thoughts/predictions so if you think positively about something or think about something else e.g. what should I have for tea today instead of thinking I will faint on the bus it should improve things and you will be calmer.

    This has helped me a lot, hope it helps you. Good luck.

  • great advice snowrider. Sounds like your 'cognitive' self therapy approach is really hitting the spot.Brilliant and great advice.

    However i should say that with a good psychotherapist,the therapy is NOT directed so it should be entirely YOUR choice what you talk about.If you want to talk about only positive things that should be entirely up to you.

    I should also stress that counselling and psychotherapy is a very long process.I would have 26 sessions first before I even decided whether it was helping or not,or before i could begin to evaluate it.Often with psychotherapy you feel worse at first because you might want to or need to look at all the bad stuff that's blocking you inside that you need to get out,after that you get the benefits,or at least I did.Not for everyone though as your brilliant success with your thinking challenges proves.

  • I agree with snowrider....

    I,m well at the moment and life is good (I ,m on this site as it is one day at a time, tommorow I may require your support).

    Did I get well with doctors/meds/hospital/phsychiatrists/physcologists/cbt...? (had them all) Well dont knock any off them they all helped me stay on the path...But..But....but what kept me moving was that I changed my thinking and at last let go the poor me,s....the ego.....the exaggerated importance.....and realised that everything in life good or bad is simply 'life event' that I cannot control.........

    I takes time, but you change as a person when you are ready to change......hang on in!!!!

  • Like stde I tell myself the event is going to happen and worrying about it IS NOT going to prevent it. I used to worry about making mistakes at work and then would go in the next day and find that I didn't do it wrong and then the cycle would start again the next day. It messed me up as I am sure you can guess.

    Recently I have been telling myself worrying about making a mistake WILL NOT mean that mistake is cancelled out and will be made right no matter how much I worry about it. If I made a mistake then it will still be there in the morning EVEN if I spend all the previous night worrying about it. What a lot of wasted time/energy. No wonder I am tired all the time.

    You cannot change anything by worrying about it so let it go and enjoy your life.

    Therapy does work for some people I would expect but not for me. I am a private individual who keep things to himself and so wasn't for me at all. But It did make me realise how much I hated myself but it also made me realise that the things I hated about myself were the things that did/said when I was in an exremely stressed/anxious state and so if can prevent myself entering this state then would like myself more. Which I do at the moment as my anxiety is considerably reduced. I do work at it every day but it is definetely worth the effort.

  • I have had many years of psychotherapy for a wide range of anxiety disorders and can i say that i virtually always enjoyed my psychotherapy sessions,i looked forward to all the in-depth searching and non-stop talking and feeling of approval,care and total acceptance from my many therapists.I usually walked out from each session feeling lighter,more hopeful,with a spring in my step,liked i'd dumped a load of old rubbish I didn't need.

    As regards to effects on anxiety,I would certainly give it 25 sessions at least before i could judge properly,but some things it didn't touch,(e.g.my agoraphobia,although i DID feel more hope about it,as i knew now how it had formed and more of what it was deeply about),I had spider-phobia and it really gave me the confidence to get rid of it through exposure therapy,i felt maybe 20-25% less terrified and this gave me the confidence to challenge the spider fear directly and remove it).Psychotherapy didn't seem to help my worry,stress and generalized daily anxiety's but it cut my panic attacks in half,reducing them to 50% of thier frequency so as you can hear,psychotherapy/counselling not a cure but a tremendous help and,for me at least,a very uplifting therapy(strangely enough),but be prepared for no quick fix with psychotherapy,it does happen for a lucky few but most like me,get the benefits slowly over many months and sessions.

  • I have been really struggling with this too. I had counselling last year and it did help me,my counsellor suggested to train to be a counsellor myself so that's what I'm doing now and I also have weekly support sessions with another counsellor. It has been so much more in depth and has opened up a whole can of worms and has caused me to have severe anxiety and panic attacks. It has been a real shock and I've considered pulling out asits been so hard to cope with . from what I've been told it gets worse before it gets better and that's what I'm experiencing now. I do want to keep going though as I keep thinking "what if it really helps me" but I'm also thinking"what if I have a nervous breakdown in the process?" I have no answers I just don't know either. I've tried changing my thoughts and that does help up to a certain point. I'm now trying to look at it as a learning experience and I'm interested to know more about myself. Just got to be brave and hang on in there.

  • I wonder that myself!!!

  • It depends on what type of psychotherapy you have. There are many from the old psychoanalysis type to the modern versions. there is Spiritual psychotherapy as practised by Christian therapists. (You don't have to be a Christian to benefit). There is Gestalt therapy and many others. They all use different techniques. I went for two years, once a week, to a Jungian therpist. A retired C of E parson. He did not push religion. In fact I did not know his background for six months after I met him. He charged nothing!! Everyone who charged a fee helped me not. Those who gave of themselves freely helped me immensely. Must be a moral there. I went on to train at his seminars as a counsellor, hence my presence here. But I went, well and truly through the mill to get here. Depression and anxiety were my daily companions and without my wife and the wise counsellor I would most certainly not be here! So yes, psychotherapy can be a great help but it has to be the right kind for you. It does get worse before it gets better but you have to stick with it, having found the right one. (You will INTUITIVELY know when this happens). Be guided by your intuitive feelings in this and try not to give up when things seem to go wrong. Not by any means easy. Regards. jonathan.

  • I think you make an important point about fees. I was helped by someone who charged a reduced rate fee more for a sign of my commitment than anything else. He went the extra mile and made the world of difference to me. He was a teacher not a 'therapist' so best of all I learned to help myself which is what we really need.

  • Hi Lee, my experience leads me to say that psychotherapy is a wonderful way to learn about your own mind , human responses, and with time and patience it will help you to become the best edition of yourself. There is no enormity to the task, it is a learning curve that you need to apply yourself to, as with everyday normal life. And only one day at a time. Understanding is what you need to aid your recovery. Small victories and the expected struggle will ease.

    Best wishes and God bless.

  • I guess it depends on what is causing the anxiety? Lets face it, If it is something specific, why do we continue to do it... such as a job we hate? So are we going to go to therapy to deal with a job we hate, and tell people we don't know or care about how much we hate our jobs? Unless they can find us new jobs I don't really see the point. My anxiety before work is so bad I cry buckets. I don't think anything will help but retraining. So targeting something face on, means learning to accept it, and change it sometimes. Not just accept it, talking about it, and sucking up the pain. Sure, lets see if I could change how i feel about my job by talking to someone about it. Are they actually going to sit there and tell me how to cope with it? Maybe I don't want to COPE with it. Maybe I just want to avoid it like a plague. I know it would make me feel a ton better.

  • I don't have confidence in psychotherapy to help with very much of anything. Peering into your brain people spend decades in therapy and get nowhere. The healing element is just the therapist if its a good fit. Someone patiently listens to you because you paid them, whereas friends and family would get fed up.

    Anxiety is a fear of the future whilst depression is a fear of the past. You don't necessarily need to know where your fear comes from to be able to overcome it and get on with your life. Psychotherapy wants to look at where it all came from, and tends to get stuck there. This is because any past event has an unlimited number of interpretations and you keep dredging up new ones. Off course it doesn't feel like that's what you're doing, because the 'paid' therapist will make you feel you're doing really important work. It's their profession after all. But actually you're just stuck in a head f**k.

    I think meditation is better whereby you are grounded in the present. This helps you get out of the incessant thinking, which fuels anxiety/depression, it makes space for fresh ideas and a new perspective on life. It changes your relationship to your thoughts rather than the thoughts themselves. The thoughts will change, of their own accord, which is a nice side effect but by then it won't be a big deal to you anyway.