Tag Archive | anxiety treatment


*the article is based on my private practice observations

Anxiety is often a reason why people knock on my door. It is also the subject that I am most drawn to. That’s why I would like to write a short article based on my work experiences about dealing with anxiety.

In short, I approached anxiety in two levels:

  1. Dealing with symptoms: In the Internet era, people educate themselves about panic attacks and how to ease symptoms. Consequently this level is the most accessible for self-help. Cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy is mainly focused on this level. Many people come to psychotherapy equipped with the knowledge and exercises how to help themselves with panic attacks. But why do those people still come to therapy? I believe focus in this level is not enough for the long term anxiety relief. In my practice, I focus 80% of my time on second level:
  2. Deeper approach: Psychotherapeutic relationship offers safe, understanding, trusting environment which is especially important for people with anxiety. For them, knowing that they have safe place, whit expert who they can trust, play enormous role. I notice that people with anxiety often keep their fears and worries to them self, they are overly consider with other people’s emotions and are on the mission not to hurt others, their true content is locked inside them which one day explode into panic.
    In time, the therapeutic relationship is safe enough for all the hidden content to come to light, having somebody to talk about it, relieves the burden that is kept inside and coses stress. Often we are so used to carrying a burden that we don’t realize how anxious our mind and body are feeling.

What (not) to expect in therapy

A lot of people believe that there is some kind of recipe for panic attacks solution. And they expect to get it from therapist. There is not just one anxiety, I see different kinds of it, some overwhelming others »just« as symptom form some other mental disorder. Therapy needs to get to its core and there is no recipe for that.

I don’t believe that you can cure anxiety response 100%. Let’s not forget that no matter how unpleasant it is, it is still a normal human response. The only difference it is that by people with anxiety, the centers for danger are triggered where there is no actual life threatening situation. The difference after therapy is that less things are causing us stress. Before it was stressful to go to the grocery store, now it would be stressful when having an accident. That’s a normal body/mind response.


In this article I will summarized the work of Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D. book, The Highly Sensitive Person. In her psychotherapy practice she worked with HSP for decays and come to an interesting conclusions.

In connection to anxiety: HSP often treats his high arousal as anxiety. He got false messages form the environment that unpleasantness he is experiencing (due to high arousal) is actually fear. Consequently when they get aroused (annoyed, tired…) that automatically triggers fear.

Twenty percent of the population is born with HSP, 30% of them are extrovert and it effects women and men equally. The author distinguish between two subtypes:

First one is calm, quiet and satisfied quickly the other is slightly contradictory, for example he is curious but careful, cheeky but scared, he gets bored very quickly but at the same time, he is quickly overstimulated.

Hypersensitive nervous system
HSP have a hypersensitive nervous system. Exposed to the same amount of stimulus, they tend to absorb more and consequently they get aroused faster. Also they process everything very deeply and get easily overwhelmed.

They pick up the stimulus form the environment that many others would normally overlook. Some people call that good intuition. Their delicate sense make them a good writers, historians, philosophers, judges, artists, researchers, theologians, therapist, teachers, conscious parents and citizens.

Main characteristic of HSP Person:

  • Creative (unusual imagination), very empathic people.
  • They tend to have more vivid dreams and nightmares then others. Even if they didn’t have any traumatic experience it is not unusual for them to fear the dark. No wonder many of them have trouble sleeping.
  • They feel hunger very strongly.
  • They have hart time making decisions, especially because they are being more aware of consequences, wanting to make right by everyone and paying great attention to details.
  • If they had many negative experiences in life, they are more prone to anxiety or depression. HSP children can get criticized for their sensitivity, often the environment doesn’t know how to react to it. That’s why many of them feel like there is something wrong with them. In the environment that is in tune in with their sensitivity, they flourish to a confident person, viewing their sensitivity as a gift.
  • They react to criticism more intense than others which can result in avoiding criticism all together, by trying to please other people and putting others first.
  • They have lower pain tolerance. They feel changes in their body more profoundly, that’s why they are having trouble to brush the painful sensation off their mind.
  • They tend to be more sensitive to violence in the movies and real life. Due to their great imagination, they can vividly imagine what it would be like. The images can linger with them for weeks or even years.

Are you a HSP? Find out in these questioner: http://hsperson.com/