When suffering from panic attacks, obsessive thoughts, or uncontrolled worries, it can be hard to overcome these issues. While it may seem impossible to work on these struggles, it is important to know that there are professionals and resources that can help you turn your mental health around. There are several methods therapists take when it comes to treating anxiety, but they all have one thing in common: to help calm your mind and overcome your fears.
If you are looking for an anxiety therapist in Chicago, the professionals at Latinx Talk Therapy are here to help. Contact us online or call (312) 620-7551 to learn more about our services and how we can assist you today.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
The most widely-used therapy for anxiety disorders, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is often the approach a therapist will take to help one overcome and manage anxiety. Research has shown it to be highly effective when treating panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and many other conditions.
Identifying Negative Thoughts
The first step in CBT is a therapist helping you to identify negative thoughts. With anxiety disorders, situations are seen as more dangerous than they are. Because of this, a therapist may ask several questions to identify triggers and the root cause of anxiety. You can ask yourself what you think or feel when anxiety comes into play. Of course, a therapist will help you in this step.
Challenging Negative Thoughts
Once triggers and causes are identified, it is time to put negative thoughts to the test. In this step, a therapist will teach you how to evaluate your anxiety-provoking thoughts. This involves questioning the evidence for your thoughts, breaking down unhelpful beliefs, and testing the reality of negative predictions. Strategies include:
- Weighing the pros and cons of worrying or avoiding fears
- Determining realistic chances of what you’re anxious about will actually happen
Replacing Negative Thoughts with Realistic Thoughts
Once negative distortions and predictions are targeted, you can then learn to replace them with new thoughts that are more realistic, accurate, and positive. Your therapist may also help you develop realistic, calming statements you can say to yourself when facing a situation that triggers anxiety.
A therapist may also recommend exposure therapy in addition to CBT. Anxiety is not a pleasant experience, so naturally, one will avoid it if one can. But the more a fear, situation, or event is avoided, the stronger the fear grows. In turn, one can never truly overcome anxiety if they do not face it. Exposure therapy is about facing and being exposed to fears to overcome them.
If a patient faces fear and anxiety starts soaring, it is important to know relaxation techniques to take some control. A therapist will teach you how to be in the present moment and properly breathe, and may also offer progressive muscle relaxation techniques. The best thing about these skills is that they can be practiced anywhere, anytime.
Working Through the Steps, Slowly
Exposure therapy, to be effective, is a gradual process. A therapist may start by showing images or making the patient imagine a scenario that induces anxiety. This is to help expose a patient and start making peace with the scenario or event one fears.
Eventually, a patient finalizes exposure therapy by physically exposing oneself to the event/scenario. Remember, this is gradual and all in due time!
How Anxiety Affects the Latinx Community
Hispanic/Latinx communities show similar vulnerabilities and struggles as other communities but particularly face disparities when it comes to accessing treatment. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), more than half of young Hispanic adults from ages 18-25 may not receive treatment for mental illness. The many barriers that lead to inaccessibility include:
- Poverty and health insurance coverage
- Lack of cultural competence
- Legal status
Make Therapy Work For You. Learn About How Latinx Talk Therapy Can Help
At Latinx Talk Therapy in Chicago, everyone deserves treatment for any struggles one may be facing. We work to make therapy accessible and effective for you. If you are ready to work on your mental health, we are happy to help. Contact us online or call (312) 620-7551 today to learn more about how you can get started.