Anxiety Therapist Santa Clara

Anxiety is a natural response to stressors or past traumas. At the same time, it can be incredibly difficult to cope with. Working with one of our anxiety therapists can help you learn the tools you need to soothe your body, mind, and spirit when you experience anxiety. With our integrative approach, true healing is possible. Get started today.

Hi, I’m Anxiety! I’m the unwelcome guest in your head at 3 am when you are trying to sleep or the overwhelming feeling of heart racing and fast breathing on your way to work. I tend to disrupt your daily life and increase muscle tension, panic attacks, and substance abuse. I often make you feel worse, unable to explain it to family members, and sometimes create frightening thoughts.

This character, Anxiety, is one most people want to write out of their story. By meeting with a mental health professional, you can overcome anxiety. Anxiety is a common mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It manifests as excessive worry, fear, and negative thoughts, often leading to difficult physical symptoms and interference with daily life. Remember, some low levels of anxiety can be normal. However, anxiety can also feel overwhelming, it is essential to remember that help is available, and there are many different therapeutic techniques, resources, and treatment options to manage and alleviate anxiety symptoms. This article aims to provide insight into anxiety, its causes, symptoms, and the various avenues for seeking help.

Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety is a complex condition that can arise from genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. It can manifest as anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, severe anxiety, or other related conditions. Individuals with anxiety may experience a range of symptoms, including persistent worry, irrational fear, restlessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension, sleep disturbances, and sometimes panic attack.

Day-to-day life can include stress that might bring on the occasional worry, however, this is different from many anxiety disorders. Mental health professionals are able to diagnose anxiety, but here we will provide some more information about what treating anxiety can look like and how things like relaxation techniques can really help.

Types of anxiety disorders

There are several types of anxiety disorders, each characterized by specific symptoms and patterns of excessive fear or worry. Here are some common types:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

GAD is a mental illness characterized by persistent and excessive worry about various aspects of life, such as work, health, relationships, or everyday situations. People with GAD often find it challenging to control their worry, and the anxiety is often disproportionate to the actual circumstances. This can make folks very isolated from family members, making anxiety worse. Physical symptoms may include restlessness, fatigue, muscle tension, irritability, and sleep disturbances.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder involves recurrent panic attacks, which are sudden and intense episodes of fear or discomfort. Panic attacks can be accompanied by physical symptoms like a rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, and a sense of impending doom or loss of control. People with panic disorder often worry about having future panic attacks and may avoid situations or places they associate with previous attacks.

Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)

Social anxiety disorder is characterized by an intense fear of social situations or performance situations, where individuals worry about being embarrassed, humiliated, or judged by others. People with a social anxiety disorder may avoid social gatherings, public speaking, or situations that involve interaction with unfamiliar people. Physical symptoms may include blushing, trembling, sweating, and a rapid heartbeat.

Specific Phobias

Specific phobias involve intense fear and avoidance of specific objects, animals, or situations. Common phobias include fear of heights (acrophobia), spiders (arachnophobia), flying (aviophobia), or enclosed spaces (claustrophobia). Exposure to the phobic stimulus can lead to significant anxiety and panic attacks.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is characterized by the presence of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are intrusive, unwanted thoughts, images, or urges that cause anxiety, while compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts that individuals feel compelled to perform to alleviate anxiety. Common obsessions revolve around themes like contamination, symmetry, or forbidden thoughts, and compulsions are often rituals or repetitive actions aimed at reducing anxiety or preventing harm.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Individuals with PTSD may re-experience the event through intrusive thoughts, nightmares, or flashbacks, leading to significant distress. They may also exhibit avoidance of reminders of the traumatic event, negative changes in mood or cognition, and increased arousal or hypervigilance.

It’s important to note that anxiety disorders can coexist or overlap with each other or with other mental health conditions like borderline personality disorder, depression, or substance use disorders. Professional help is crucial for an accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment plan or approach to treating anxiety. More information about these disorders can be found through the national institute of mental health (NIMH) here.

Where anxiety comes from

Anxiety counselors and other mental health professionals view anxiety as a multifaceted condition that can arise from various factors. While the exact causes of anxiety disorders are not fully understood, several risk factors are commonly recognized as contributing to the development of anxiety.

Genetic Factors

Some individuals may have a biological predisposition to anxiety disorders. This can include genetic factors, imbalances in brain chemistry, and the functioning of certain neurotransmitters (such as serotonin and dopamine) that regulate mood and anxiety.

Traumatic Experience and Environmental Factors

Traumatic or stressful life events, such as childhood or relationship abuse, neglect, loss, or persistent and significant life changes can contribute to the development of anxiety disorders. Research shows that trauma and chronic stress change the way the brain functions. We believe that we are all recovering from stress and trauma. The Trauma Research Foundation and other agencies are dedicated to enhancing the therapy process through clinical studies and education.

Cognitive Factors

For some, the role of thoughts, beliefs, and interpretations exacerbate anxiety. For example, individuals with anxiety disorders may have a tendency to catastrophize or interpret ambiguous situations as threatening. Negative self-talk, perfectionism, frantic thought patterns, and irrational beliefs can also contribute to anxiety symptoms.

Behavioral Factors

Anxiety can also be learned through experiences and reinforced behaviors. For instance, if a person has a panic attack in a specific situation, they may develop a fear of that situation and engage in avoidance behaviors to prevent future panic attacks. Over time, these avoidance behaviors can make anxiety worse and limit one’s ability to engage in daily activities.

Personality Factors

Certain personality traits may predispose individuals to develop anxiety disorders. For example, individuals with high levels of neuroticism, perfectionism, or a tendency to overthink and worry excessively may be more susceptible to these anxiety disorders.

It’s important to note that these factors can interact and influence each other, and the development of anxiety disorders is often multifactorial. The goal of the anxiety counselor is to identify and understand the specific factors contributing to anxiety in each individual’s case and tailor treatment accordingly. Most anxiety disorders are highly treatable in our care.

Our anxiety therapists in Santa Clara can give you the support you need to heal.

At Cura Integrative Health, our basic premise is to help you live a fuller life with a targeted approach to care. We promote healing and reduce anxiety in our patients by integrating effective, evidence-based care for stress and trauma under one roof. Most of us have experienced seeing multiple providers for answers about why we’re struggling. This can be confusing and isolating. We connect the components of effective trauma treatment in one place.

Our approach to treating anxiety disorders

Stress and trauma impact our minds, body, and well-being. We offer Therapy and other care options that address your whole Self. Our assessment process and available services reflect our integrative approach to healing. Through psychodynamic psychotherapy, in-person and online therapy, biofeedback, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and relaxation techniques, we help patients reduce the physical symptoms, anxious feelings, and anxious thoughts that come with anxiety. We consult regularly with MD’s and other professionals that prescribe medication.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

This is a trauma-informed, depth-oriented approach that helps to integrate your unconscious, implicit memory, and body experiences into your conscious mind. Psychodynamic approaches explore the unconscious processes, early life experiences, and relationship patterns that may contribute to anxiety. A mental health provider can help those who experience anxiety gain insight into underlying conflicts and unresolved emotional issues, fostering self-awareness and promoting adaptive coping strategies. If you are interested in reducing anxiety and creating transformative, long-lasting change in your relationship patterns and how you feel about yourself, or if you have experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse, this therapy may be indicated for you.

Mindfulness-Based Approaches

Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and body scans, are often integrated into anxiety treatment. Mindfulness helps individuals develop an awareness of their thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations in the present moment without judgment. It can enhance self-compassion, reduce reactivity to anxiety triggers, and promote relaxation. If you are experiencing low energy levels, disrupted or low-quality sleep, digestive issues, symptoms of depression and anxiety, or generally want to feel more comfortably present in your physical and mental health and emotional life, mindfulness-based approaches might be an important part of your care plan.

Neurofeedback

A form of biofeedback, Neurofeedback training (NFT) is non-invasive and encourages more efficient and balanced brain wave function.  Electroencephalogram (EEG) sensors are placed on areas of the brain and connected to a computer program that allows the brain to receive moment-to-moment feedback. A patient watches a video or plays a simple game on the screen with the sensors in place and we reward certain brain wave patterns through visual and auditory stimuli to reduce the experience of anxiety. The brain begins to learn how to function more optimally. If you have trouble sleeping, find it hard to calm down or get motivated, have difficulty focusing or experience symptoms of trauma, or would like an alternative to psychiatric medications, this training may be for you. An introduction to this can be found here: What Is Neurofeedback? Additional research: Harvard Neurofeedback Breakdown and National Library of Medicine: Neurofeedback.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a most widely used therapy that focuses on identifying and modifying negative thoughts and behaviors contributing to anxiety. It helps individuals develop healthier coping strategies, challenge irrational beliefs, and learn relaxation techniques. CBT also incorporates exposure therapy to gradually confront feared situations and reduce avoidance behaviors.

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Training and Biofeedback

HRV training is a biofeedback therapeutic approach that works to synchronize breathing patterns and heart rate patterns. Benefits include an increased sense of calm, better sleep, and increased emotional regulation and it helps increase the efficacy of NFT.

Lifestyle Interventions

Our integrative approach to anxiety treatment recognizes the importance of addressing lifestyle factors that can impact mental well-being. This may be lifestyle changes that include promoting regular exercise, healthy nutrition, sufficient sleep, and stress management techniques. Self-care practices, such as engaging in hobbies, spending time in nature, cultivating healthy relationships, and attending a support group when indicated are also emphasized.

Who our anxiety therapy services are for

Anxiety therapy is for individuals who are experiencing significant distress and impairment in their daily lives due to anxiety symptoms. It is suitable for people of all ages, from children to adults. Our anxiety therapy is often beneficial to those who have experienced trauma and chronic stress in their lives. Some of these populations include:

Adult children of parents with anxiety and other disorders

Anxiety can affect individuals throughout adulthood, causing significant distress and interfering with various aspects of life, including relationships, work, and personal fulfillment. We find that those experiencing anxiety can often link their anxiety to that of their early caregivers. Our integrative treatment helps adults gain insight and improve their overall quality of life.

College Students

The academic environment can be stressful, leading to heightened anxiety levels in students. Our approach can assist students in managing test anxiety, social anxiety, and performance-related concerns, while also promoting overall well-being and academic success.

Individuals with Chronic Health Conditions

Chronic health conditions, such as fibromyalgia, cardiovascular disease, or autoimmune disorders, can be accompanied by anxiety symptoms. Psychotherapy, often combined with neurofeedback, can help individuals cope with the emotional impact of their condition, manage anxiety-related physical symptoms, and improve overall quality of life.

Veterans, First Responders and Health Professionals

These folks often face unique stressors and may be at increased risk for anxiety disorders. Anxiety therapy tailored to the specific experiences and challenges of these populations can provide support in addressing trauma, managing and treating anxiety disorders and symptoms, and facilitating post-traumatic growth.

Parents

We know that postpartum women and their partners are some of the most underserved populations in our country. Post-partum anxiety is rampant and often left undiagnosed and untreated, sometimes with severe anxiety. Our job as clinicians will be to stay connected with you as needed to provide individualized, therapeutic support. We are part of an extensive network of providers including midwives, obstetricians, chiropractors, lactation consultants, physical therapists and more.

Adolescents

Anxiety disorders can emerge in childhood or adolescence, impacting social development, academic performance, and overall well-being. Therapy provides a safe space for teenagers and adolescents to express their concerns (often in online therapy), learn coping skills, and address underlying factors contributing to their anxiety.

Individuals with Co-occurring Disorders

Anxiety commonly co-occurs with other mental health conditions, such as depression, substance abuse, or eating disorders. Integrated therapy approaches can address both anxiety and co-occurring disorders, promoting comprehensive recovery and improved well-being.

FAQs about working with an anxiety disorder therapist

Should I see a counselor for anxiety?

You may benefit from anxiety therapy if you:

  • Experience excessive worry, fear, or panic that is difficult to control.
  • Find your anxiety interfering with daily functioning, relationships, work, or school.
  • Engage in avoidance behaviors or rituals to alleviate anxiety.
  • Notice physical symptoms such as muscle tension, restlessness, sleep disturbances, or digestive issues related to anxiety.
  • Feel overwhelmed by anxiety in specific situations or social settings.
  • Have experienced traumatic events and developed symptoms of anxiety as a result.
  • Have co-occurring conditions such as depression, substance abuse, or other mental health disorders alongside anxiety.
  • We believe all people suffer from some form of anxiety, so reach out to learn more about how anxiety therapy may specifically help you.

What types of therapy treat anxiety?

Psychotherapy, exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, neurofeedback and biofeedback all help to treat anxiety. We provide a multitude of therapies to allow for individualized therapy for anxiety. You will have the personal choice to explore these recommended therapies for anxiety, as there is no definitive answer as to which treatment is best.

What are some coping skills I can use for anxiety?

Deep Breathing, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Social support, Meditation, Yoga, and Exercise have been proven to reduce anxiety. It may also be helpful to seek guidance from a mental health professional who can provide personalized coping techniques and support in managing anxiety.

Our anxiety therapists in Santa Clara can help you get unstuck. 

Stress and traumatic experiences leave us stuck. Our integrative Approach to Therapy provides a path forward for both your mind and body. We combine therapy, neuroscience, and other effective services for complete care and recovery. We help to restore balance in your life.

Reach out today for a free consultation to start the process of therapy for anxiety.

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Please reach out to us at hiring@curaintegrativehealth.com for more details.