Living with Anxiety
Anxiety is an issue faced by nearly every client I treat. Seldom will I meet with someone who doesn’t identify any struggles with anxiety at all. Key points were when it stated anxiety can be a lifelong phenomenon, but that’s OK! The author speaks about the role of family and the community in the client’s life as well and how a support system and routine can be helpful. Part of a counselor’s job is to educate clients and then help them develop coping skills to utilize for the anxiety.
The bulk of this article focused on the coping skills themselves:
- Identifying negative thoughts
- Learning to only worry about what you can control
- Normalizing the experience and existence of anxiety
- Scheduling “worry time” or utilizing a Kuhn’s “worry tree”
- Practicing mindfulness, meditation, relaxation techniques
- The butterfly hug *a deep cross arm hug provided to self during deep breathing
- Teaching clients not to stereotype situations
- Becoming aware of your negativity and purposely avoiding it
- Practicing healthy habits: diet, exercise, sleep hygiene, social media, substance abuse
- Externalizing the problem *”I am anxious.” -“No, you are Susan, and you have a problem with anxiety”
The author reminded counselors to be up to date on their knowledge of anti-anxiety medications as some clients will choose to use them. It can be part of our role to help with educate, stigma busting, and also helping the client cope with their own comfort with the medicine. It is also important to know if a client is on meds so you, the counselor, can keep an eye on the dosage. No, you are NOT a medical personal nor are you a prescriber, but you should have a general understanding of how they work and can refer them back to their doctor as needed or work with them more on coping skills if symptoms seem to be increasing.
Lastly, remember that the person in front of you is that, a person. Ultimately, what most matters is their presenting problem and how the two of you can develop and utilize a recovery plan to accomplish their goals.
Bray, B. (2017) Living with anxiety. Counseling Today, 59(12).