Where To Find An Anxiety Therapist

By BetterHelp Editorial Team|Updated June 21, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Aaron Horn, LMFT

Feeling Like Anxiety Is Disrupting Your Every Day Life?
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Living with anxiety can be quite a challenge. Whether you have a generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, a phobia, or anxiety caused by a life situation, receiving treatment is very important.

Anxiety can be treated with medication. However, the medication will only relieve you of the symptoms and not the cause. To treat the cause, you should speak with a therapist. What can a therapist do for you? How can you find a therapist? We will answer these questions in the following article.

What Does An Anxiety Therapist Do?

First, the phrase "anxiety therapist" is a bit redundant, as most mental health therapists treat anxiety. To treat anxiety, a therapist will use different "tools," including:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This is the most popular form of therapy, and it can treat many mental health issues. It is effective for many types of disorders ranging from anxiety to depression. How it works is that you scrutinize your thoughts and your behaviors. Some thoughts can fuel your anxiety. For example, always believing you'll get anxiety can trigger your anxiety. If you start thinking more positively, you can kick those thoughts out, and it can make your anxiety much more manageable. However, you can't change your thinking overnight, so CBT can take a little while to be fully effective.

The same applies to your behaviors. Some behaviors can make your anxiety worse. For example, drinking too much caffeine can intensify the symptoms. By changing your behavior and lessening the amount of caffeine you consume, you might be able to reduce your overall level of anxiety. Most therapists utilize CBT because it is so effective against a range of emotional difficulties.

Exposure Therapy

Sometimes, your anxiety may be labeled as a phobia. You might have an irrational phobia that is causing you distress. Say you have a fear of spiders. The spiders around your area are not poisonous and can even help catch pests. However, something about them makes you terrified. How can you fix this? One way you can do so is by exposure therapy. Exposure therapy means that you will be gradually shown your phobia in small increments until you are no longer afraid of it. It helps to retrain your brain using positive interactions.

For fear of spiders, you may first be taught CBT skills that attempt to rationalize your phobia. Many phobias come from an irrational fear, but if your mind is always telling you that spiders can't hurt you, you may feel better. You may then be shown videos and photos of spiders, and you adapt to seeing them. As you watch them, you will be given breathing exercises if you are having problems viewing them. This can help calm your nerves.

Once you are desensitized to that, the therapist may show you a spider in a jar. Once you become desensitized to that stimuli, you may end up looking at a spider outside the jar. Finally, your therapy may end with you holding a tarantula. It all depends. By slowly introducing you to a concept, it can help you reduce the anxiety associated with it.

Breathing Exercises

When you have anxiety attacks, sometimes you need to breathe. Of course, we're breathing all the time. What we're talking about is deep breathing that can help calm your nerves. Slow, controlled breaths can reduce the severity of an anxiety attack. It may even eliminate it. There are many different types of breathing exercises you can do. The purpose of each of them is to calm you down when you're having an attack or prevent you from having one in the first place. By learning breathing exercises, you are on your way to reducing your anxiety.

Talk Therapy

Sometimes, your anxiety may be situational and not because of a mental disorder. For example, you are a new college student who has just moved out of their parent's place and into your dorm. This new world may make you anxious, and the solution is to learn how to cope and not be upset because of the change. A therapist can help you by talking about your problems and looking for solutions. The answer may be to find a routine that allows you to adjust to your new setting.

Helps Identify Triggers

If you are prone to anxiety or panic attacks, certain triggers may set them off. A therapist will help you identify the triggers so you can avoid them whenever you can. Or you can learn how to handle them if they're unavoidable.

These are just a few of the many ways a therapist can treat your anxiety. With that said, where can you find a good therapist to help your situation? Here are a few ways you can do so.

Referrals

One way you can find a therapist who is right for you is to be referred to one. Many Americans struggle with anxiety, and many have a therapist who has helped them. Ask and see what therapist they went to. If you two are similar, you may have found a therapist who fits.

Talk To Your Insurance Provider

Feeling Like Anxiety Is Disrupting Your Every Day Life?

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If you have health insurance, many private therapists will accept it. Talk to your insurance provider, and see who accepts your insurance. You may be able to receive therapy for free or for less money.

Do Some Googling

One of the best ways to find a therapist near you is to look one up. A quick search for a therapist near you will result in a list of, well, therapists near you. Google also has reviews, so you can learn what other people are saying about that therapist. With online reviews, you may encounter more bad than good, as satisfied customers are less inclined to read reviews. Just realize that the negative reviews may be from people who didn't fit well with the therapist. There may be negative reviews that provide good criticism, too.

Look Locally

Local clinics may provide therapy for less and even for free. They may be overbooked with public service clinics, so if you need help now, you should look elsewhere. However, if you get lucky, you may be able to find an open spot.

Go To School

Most schools and universities will provide counseling to their students. If you're in high school or college, you should talk to the counselor. Some universities may provide counseling to the public. It's always worth it to ask and see what they have.

Talk To Your Pastor

If you're religious, you may be able to find the answer you're looking for from your pastor. For example, your church may provide spiritual counseling for free. Religious counseling teaches you lessons through the lens of your religion, and if you're having problems with faith, it may be a place to look.

Interview Your Counselor

If you find a counselor who interests you during your first visit or a call, ask some questions to make sure they're right for you. A few questions you might ask include.

  • What is your stance on treatment? Will you treat me using proven methods?
  • How would you go about treating my anxiety? My phobia?
  • How many clients have been satisfied? Obviously, they can't give you a list of names because of ethical reasons, but they can provide general details of treatment without using identifying information.

Try Online Counseling

Sometimes, you may not be in the best area to find a good counselor. For example, if you live in a rural area, your counseling choices may not be numerous. An online counselor may be the answer you're looking for. Online counseling can give you treatment from anywhere and at any time. You can text, call, or have a video chat with a counselor. A few other benefits to online counseling include:

  • Immediate help. If you're having problems right now, such as an anxiety attack, an online counselor will be able to help you.
  • Communication that's comfortable for you. If you have difficulties with verbal communication, you can text.
  • Help from anywhere. As long as you have a good signal, you'll be able to talk to someone.
  • Online counseling may cost less because the counselor may not have as many brick and mortar expenses.

If you're having an anxiety attack, there is no shame in talking to a counselor. They can treat your anxiety and help you maintain a normal life. Talk to a therapist today and see what they can do for you.

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