Wendy writes: Anxiety is normal and without it we wouldn’t grow. Often the thing that helps us learn to manage anxiety better is developing a compassionate attitude towards ourselves. To do this, professional help is sometimes required, and regular therapy can be a very important and good choice. However, no one size fits all. Medication can help if someone is finding it difficult to function, and sometimes this can really help people to find the strength to get to therapy in the first place.
Other factors, such as complementary therapies, lifestyle choices (exercise, diet etc) and making sure we are not socially isolated, are very important too.
What is available on the NHS?
Your GP will be able to tell you what’s available on the NHS in your area. You may be referred to their in-house counsellor if they have one, or offered an educational course, or an online computer package. Face to face individual counselling is usually limited to a few sessions and there is usually a wait.
What about private therapy?
The number of different types of counselling out there is bewildering and I advise not to worry too much about the particular ‘type’ of therapy. It’s always good to get a personal recommendation if you can, or visit the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy website www.itsgoodtotalk.org.uk and click on Find a Therapist to look up registered counsellors in your area.
The first therapy appointment can be daunting, but usually people very quickly feel at ease, then relieved, and say they wish they had sought help earlier. It is common practice for therapists to arrange the first session so that both you and your therapist can work out whether this is right for you. Use this first session to gauge if you feel safe enough with this particular therapist to be open, honest and vulnerable. Trust your instincts about this.
In the next blog: symptoms of anxiety and links with depression.