Most individuals will experience some form of anxiety throughout their life span. Anxiety can begin for some in childhood when they begin separating from their parent to attend daycare or pre-school. The practice receives many referrals for children who are struggling with development tasks due to their fears and anxiety. Many adults have struggled with on-going anxiety since their childhood and reach a point they cannot deal with it any longer. Anxiety is treatable and relief is in sight when people begin the process of psychotherapy. The practice has a strong established working relationship with various professional such as message therapists, family doctors, acupuncturist and naturopathic medicine.
We approach the treatment of anxiety from a holistic view addressing all areas of a person's life that may be adding to their level of stress. We utilize many forms of psychotherapy, every individual is unique and their treatment plan will be tailored for their situation and be re-evaluated as treatment begins. The following is a brief overview of some of the treatment methods therapists within the practice are trained in:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)is a researched based method for treating specific anxiety symptoms. CBT has some of the strongest evidence as an effective treatment in the field of psychology. It is one of the most effective treatments for conditions where anxiety or depression are the main problem. CBT focuses on how you think about yourself, the world, and other people. CBT is used to help you understand that how you think (cognitive) and what you do (behaviour) both impact how you feel. When you suffer from anxiety or depression, you may think about events and interactions in distorted ways. CBT assists you in changing these distortions so that you can have more appropriate thoughts which will result in positive feelings.
Depending on the symptoms and the severity some or all of the following CBT techniques may be used:
- Behavioural Techniques - that include practical actions you can learn to manage your anxiety when it arises. An example may be if you are experiencing panic attacks while driving you will learn direct strategies to control or eliminate these attacks.
- Insightfulness & Self Reflection - You will learn awareness of the origins of your anxiety, while exploring your childhood perceptions of yourself and the world. This work may include a family of origin mapping process that looks back into the past with the goal of surfacing how that learning impacts the now and the future. Often it is our beliefs that create our thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
- Cognitive Restructuring - Learning how to confront and challenge distorted thinking patterns which escalate anxiety and replace them with healthier more realistic thoughts.
- Graduated Exposure - Learning how to monitor your internal level of distress in stressful situations using a SUDS rating of 0-10. With the support of your therapist you will begin to master the situations with a rating below 5 which will allow you build your self confidence. Once you have had success in becoming comfortable in these situations you will with the guided support of your therapist challenge the situations with higher ratings.
- Relaxation & Mediation - Again the practice uses a holistic approach that may include recommendations for exercise, yoga, and relaxation and breathing techniques. These skills will allow you to regulate and control your bodies’ responses to your anxious thinking.
- Homework - Your therapist will provide you with recommendations of readings, mediation cd's, and handouts for homework between your sessions. The harder you work on these suggestions the more likely you will experience relief from your anxiety.
Other approaches to treating the range of anxiety disorders or anxious behaviours:
- The practice has three trained psychotherapists that utilize EMDR for a wide range of anxiety related issues including the treatment of children.
- Exploration of coping skills, building self awareness, self esteem and resolving any trauma or painful events that may still contribute to an unhealthy outlook of your life.
During periods of stress and difficulty it is absolutely necessary for us to have friends and professionals by our side that we can trust. Through collaborating with Bonnie, I have seen her clients achieve incredible results, via her counselling, that I have not otherwise seen in working with other practitioners. Bonnie has a kind, straightforward and honest manner, and goes well beyond what is asked of her in her practice. I whole-heartedly trust Bonnie to deliver excellent care to patients and clients that I refer to her, and highly recommend her to my colleagues and other healthcare professionals.
- Dr. Matthew Greenwood, BSc(Eng), ND (Naturopathic Physician), Vancouver, BC