How Mental Health Counseling Helps Those with Anxiety

how mental health counseling helps those with anxiety

For those pursuing a master’s degree in mental health counseling and looking ahead to a counseling career, they can anticipate likely working with many people dealing with anxiety.

We all feel anxious from time to time and to varying degrees. Not all anxiety is the same, however. While feeling anxious is normal and can even be healthy (anxiety can help us identify and react to danger, for example), anxiety disorders are common. They affect 30 percent of adults at some point in their lives. 

There are numerous types of anxiety disorders. Here is a partial list of common ones:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
  • Panic Disorder.
  • Phobias.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder.
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder.
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

As they can lead to feeling overwhelmed and avoiding uncomfortable situations, anxiety disorders can often interfere with an individual’s ability to succeed in work or school and can also cause problems with relationships. 

How Therapists Treat Anxiety

The good news is that anxiety disorders, whatever form they take, are treatable through a combination of medication and psychotherapy. A form of psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), has proved to be highly effective in treating anxiety disorders, as it helps individuals suffering from anxiety to identify thoughts and triggers and better manage their anxiety.

In CBT, counselors work with individuals to help them develop techniques to reduce negative behaviors that might stem from their anxiety. Individuals are also encouraged to take part in activities or put themselves in situations that make them anxious, to help them learn that their anxiety about potential negative outcomes is unfounded. 

In addition to working with individuals, counselors may also lead group psychotherapy sessions or family sessions, in which the patient can draw on the support of family members to address their disorder.

Using these techniques, counselors can help those struggling with various anxiety disorders to lead more normal lives—a welcome outcome, given the ubiquity of anxiety disorders.

Launch your professional counseling career by pursuing an MS in Professional Counseling from Carlow University in Pittsburgh. This accredited program will train you to work with children, adults, and families in a variety of settings, and allow you to tailor your degree by choosing a clinical concentration such as child and adolescent, trauma-informed, or forensic counseling.