They say things like they’re… Worried. Stressed-out. Distant from others. Suddenly angry. Compulsive. Panicked. Grim. Tense. Avoidant. Isolated. Easily bugged. Traumatized. Anxiety feels awful. It’s the most common psychological complaint (close to a third of us will report high anxiety) and when it’s severe you might think you don’t know how you’re going to stand another minute of it.
At its worst, you’re convinced that you’re going to die. It feels so bad that we often avoid doing anything that might make us more anxious, and will do almost anything if it might make us feel less anxious.
How’s it hurt me? Promotion? Forget it. Meet someone? I get anxious and act weird. Connect with my kids? All I want to do is zone out. Enjoy life? Are you kidding? What’s it make me do? Drinking, TV, porn, shopping, compulsive rituals, angry outbursts. People often do things that relieve them in the moment, but damages their lives, which leads to, you guessed it, increased anxiety.
Work addiction is an avoidant activity that deserves a category all its own, especially in the Bay Area. Manic working tends to pay well, until your body gives out or your partner dumps you – and, yes, it makes you more anxious. You might want to keep in mind that, when you’re stressed, pressured, tense, your IQ drops, and your work actually suffers.
… Edgy, pressured, tense, panicked, angry, miserable, manic. Thinking… about the worst thing that might happen. About how you might have humiliated yourself last night. About the bad thing that happened to you a long time ago.
Anxious thinking chases its own tail, and makes you feel worse and worse. Acting… avoidant of challenges, so you can avoid risks like failure, rejection, or making someone mad at you. Acting anxious makes you more anxious, which makes you act anxious… You have to interrupt the cycle, but, on your own, you might find that you somehow just slip back into the anxiety, no matter what you try.
I mean, you’ve tried lots of solutions on your own, right? Why keep trying, without an expert to help?
Anxious people often don’t seek therapy because, well, thinking of calling a therapist makes them anxious. But therapy is really, really good at treating anxiety, and there are a lot of things a therapist can do to help eliminate anxiety, from thought-stopping to exposure to relaxation techniques, psychoanalysis, EMDR… Figuring out what will work best for you is a key part of the therapist’s job.
One-size-fits-all approaches to therapy sorely limit how they can help.
Because we take a multi-modal approach, integrating the best tools from many approaches, we’ll be looking at:
Anxious people tend to think they are powerless to fix the big problems, that asserting themselves will make things worse, that they shouldn’t get help, that it’s hopeless. Sometimes they’re haunted by trauma. Often they forget they’ve already tried something that didn’t work, and keep trying it. What you do. Anxious people tend to make their worlds gradually smaller.
They often keep doing things that cause problems with others – and that makes them more anxious.
Sometimes they develop OCD rituals. They usually are not developing the simple habits that can make them feel much, much better. They usually are not doing one little thing after another that will quiet the anxiety, and free them to get on with their lives.
We think we’re uniquely equipped to free you of anxiety as effectively, rapidly, and enjoyably as possible, in the way that will work best for you.
Dan supervises the research of doctoral students at The Wright Institute, in Berkeley, where he has been a clinical supervisor and taught…read more
Tim has worked for over 20 years coaching people on ways to draw upon their strengths, intuition, and common sense to improve their lives…read more
Rob’s training is consistent with my values of respect and caring for the individuals and couples I work with. My experiences include working…read more
Stacy completed post graduate course work at the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis and trained in expressive arts therapy at the Tamalpa…read more
Yael helps clients identify and galvanize their strengths, and the parts of their lives that DO work, to get the rest of their lives…read more
Kirsten Maier has 15 years of therapy experience working with a wide range of individuals, couples, and groups in Canada. She is a PhD…read more
We’re happy to chat on the phone with you about your situation, and think together about the ways we might be able to make a real difference.
THE BRIDGE COUNSELING CENTER
1425 Leimert Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94602