January 25, 2024

Counselling for Anxiety: Your Starter Guide

I'm Ash montgomery
Counsellor & Therapy Dog Handler
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Subject: A person who appears trapped in their sweater, a client receiving counselling for anxiety.

Have you noticed that you’re feeling anxious more often than you’d like, or almost as a default? This might look like feeling extra tense about things, jittery, a sense of dread, or a weight that just won’t let up. However anxiety feels for you, it’s important to understand that there are strategies and tools that can help you find relief. At Golden Thread Therapy, when it comes to feelings like these our goal is to provide counselling for anxiety that helps you build understanding, compassion, and actual lasting change.


Understanding Anxiety: More than Just Stress
The Role of Counselling for Anxiety
Different Counselling Approaches Tailored to Your Needs
Preparing for Your First Counselling Session
Setting Realistic Goals in Counselling
The Importance of a Support System
Managing Expectations and Celebrating Progress
Integrating Techniques into Daily Life
When to Consider Changing Counsellors
Long-Term Benefits of Counselling for Anxiety

Understanding Anxiety: More Than Just Stress

Let me ask you a question: Can you remember the last time that you weren’t worried about something?

Anxiety is a multifaceted condition that manifests itself in various ways. It might feel like a constant undercurrent of worry that doesn’t seem to have a clear source, or it might present as physical symptoms such as a racing heart or difficulty breathing. It’s important to recognise that anxiety is not a sign of weakness. It’s a real and often intense emotional state that deserves attention and care.

The Role of Counselling for Anxiety

In our counselling sessions, we focus on understanding the root causes of your anxiety. This exploration provides valuable insights into why you feel the way you do and how we can develop strategies to manage these feelings. Our approach is gentle yet focused, ensuring that you feel supported and understood while we work together to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. No one-size-fits-all approaches allowed.

In some cases, it will be more helpful to adjust our focus from why you’re feeling anxious and to look at how to build up positive strategies to help your baseline level of anxiety lower over time. If these don’t have the impact we’re aiming for, we’ll change tact again to ensure we get to the bottom of how to properly help.

Different Counselling for Anxiety Approaches Tailored to Your Needs

Everyone’s journey with anxiety is unique. That’s why in our sessions, we use a variety of methods to help you. Think of it like having a toolbox where we can pick the right tool for the job. For example, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – which is all about brain re-wiring – can help you feel more grounded. Another modality, Person-Centred Therapy, is all about you and your unique story, and how you conceptualise your life. Using your insight and my professional experience, we’ll find which blend of methods works best for you and your goals.

Preparing for Your First Counselling Session

Starting counselling can feel really daunting at first. There’s a degree of vulnerability, and it’s a bit of an odd thing. There aren’t many other cases in life where you rock up somewhere and start sharing deep stuff about your life right away.

Something we’re pretty good at (if we do say so ourselves) is helping to make that first step feel less daunting. My approach acknowledges that we’re both two humans working together as a team for the benefit of your mental health, and I’ll always be up to laugh along at (potentially dark) jokes or lean in for the trauma powerpoint. And Beanie is all about the tail-wagging welcome. It’s pretty hard to feel too fearful when there’s a gorgeous fluffy dog herding you into the room.

Other than the consent form, you don’t need to prepare anything prior to your first session. Don’t feel any stress to know exactly what to say. Instead, it’s my job to ask gentle questions and prompt discussion about what you’re feeling comfortable sharing.

Setting Realistic Goals in Counselling for Anxiety

In our sessions, we’ll set realistic and achievable goals. This approach helps create a sense of progress and accomplishment as we navigate through your counselling journey. Never underestimate those baby steps – all together, they lead to some really big changes.

The Importance of a Support System

While the journey through counselling is a personal one, having a supportive network can provide additional strength and encouragement. I always encourage my clients to engage with friends, family, or support groups who understand and support them.

Managing Expectations and Celebrating Progress

Progress in counselling is rarely linear, and it’s essential to manage expectations realistically. We’ll celebrate every milestone, no matter how small, and understand that setbacks are simply part of the journey. It’s all about moving forward at a pace that feels right for you.

Integrating Techniques into Daily Life

The skills and strategies we explore in our sessions are designed to be integrated into your daily life. This practical approach ensures that you have the tools to manage anxiety symptoms independently, empowering you to feel more in control and resilient. Therefore, it’s not about building dependance on us as your mental health team – it’s about how we can help in sessions and how you can keep it rolling in your own life.

When to Consider Changing Counsellors

Therapy is about helping you move forward with relief from anxiety symptoms and achieve your unique goals. If that isn’t happening, or you feel for any other reason that a different approach or counsellor might better suit you, you are more than welcome to bring this up (or just ghost us!). We’d rather you be in therapy that is the right fit for you than toughing it out with a vibe that just isn’t right.

You can look through a directory of local counsellors over at Psychology Today >

Long-Term Benefits of Counselling for Anxiety

Finally, counselling for anxiety is not just about managing symptoms; it’s about building a foundation for long-term mental health and well-being. The skills and insights gained during our sessions are tools you can carry with you throughout your life, helping you face future challenges with strength and confidence.

In a way (ok – time for a little bit of cheesiness) mental health counselling is one of the best investments you can make in yourself. In summary, learning stuff that actually helps now has the potential to guide your life in a really positive way and lay foundations for more happiness in the future.

At Golden Thread Therapy, we’re committed to providing a warm, empathetic, and effective counselling experience. If you’re struggling with anxiety, know that you’re not alone and there are things that can actually help. We can work with you to help build understanding around your anxiety and strategies for a more peaceful and fulfilling life.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Golden Thread Therapy, click here. We operate as a human-therapy dog team in Brisbane, Australia in a cosy warm practice just above Studio Pilates on Waterworks Road, Ashgrove. We’d love to meet you!

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Click here to find out more about Ash and Beanie >

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