All About Anxiety and How to Overcome it with Psychological Therapy & Counselling

young woman with anxiety problems with fingers in mouth

What actually is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion that everyone experiences from time to time in response to stress or uncertainty.

However, when anxiety becomes chronic or overwhelming, it can interfere with your ability to function and negatively impact the quality of your life.

It is triggered by the perception of threats which exist in many different forms, both real and imagined, and we are not always able to differentiate between the two.

Your Anxiety reaction is mostly automatic and is controlled by the Limbic System in the brain which is responsible for emotions, memories and behavioural arousal.

It is important to recognise, therefore, that anxiety is NOT an illness or a fault of any kind, on the contrary, it is a life saving response designed to prepare your body and mind for whatever threat response is deemed appropriate.


The Three Principal Anxiety Responses

You experience THREE different anxiety responses to threats;

  • Freeze.
  • Flight.
  • Fight.

Under normal circumstances they usually occur in that order (where fighting is the last resort) but can sometimes be ‘conditioned’ (consciously changed through repetition) to occur in a different order.

For example, professional boxers have conditioned themselves to react to the threat of a punch coming their way by throwing a punch back rather than freezing or running away (they have conditioned the fight response to take precedence over freeze and flight).

Anxiety, therefore, is a behavioural outcome, a response to the perception of a threat.

You will not, therefore, experience an anxiety response to a Grizzly Bear about to attack you if you do not perceive the Grizzly Bear to be present in your environment.

In general terms then, you only feel anxious when you PERCEIVE a threat to be present or imminent.

Common symptoms of Anxiety

Common Anxiety Symptoms

Anxiety can manifest in different ways and can vary from person to person, but some common symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Excessive worry or fear: Feeling worried or fearful about things that are not necessarily threatening or are unlikely to happen.
  • Restlessness or irritability: Feeling agitated or easily annoyed.
  • Muscle tension: Tensing your muscles or experiencing muscle aches due to the tension.
  • Difficulty concentrating: Finding it hard to focus on tasks or maintain attention.
  • Sleep problems: Having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or experiencing restless, unsatisfying sleep.
  • Panic attacks: Sudden feelings of intense fear or discomfort that can include physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweating, and shaking.
  • Avoidance behaviours: Avoiding situations or activities that trigger anxiety or make it worse.
  • Obsessive-compulsive behaviours: Repeatedly performing certain actions or rituals to alleviate anxiety, even though they may not make logical sense.
  • Social anxiety: Feeling anxious or self-conscious in social situations or around others.

You may have some or all of these symptoms, but it is important to remember that you may feel anxious in different ways to other people because of the subjective nature of human experiences.

Anxiety sufferer in therapy session

Therapy & Counselling for Anxiety

We offer a number of different types of therapy and counselling for anxiety and anxiety-related problems.

Choosing the most suitable therapy depends on a number of different considerations including factors such as:

  • How long you have had the problem.
  • Your personal preferences.
  • How your problem is affecting you today.

You can read more about the different types of therapy for anxiety below.

cognitive behavioral therapy for Anxiety breaking chain metaphor

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT as it is more commonly known, is a very popular form of psychological therapy based on the idea that your emotions are the direct result of your thought processes and not caused by things that happen to you.

This central idea, that human emotions are the result of individual subjective interpretations, is comprehensively supported by clinical data collected over the last 50 years.

Therefore, overcoming your problem will involve exploring the core beliefs and values that you hold regarding situations in which you experience Anxiety.

You can find out more about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy here.

pluralistic therapy for Anxiety heart-shaped hands metaphor

Pluralistic Therapy for Anxiety

Pluralistic Therapy is a contemporary approach to psychological therapy that is designed to be adapted to the needs and preferences of the client.

In this sense, Joan (our pluralistic specialist) will work with you to understand what works best for you and your Anxiety.

Pluralistic therapy may combine elements of CBT, Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH) or general counselling and support mechanisms.

You can find out more about Pluralistic Therapy here.


Could Reality Therapy Be Right For You?

Reality Therapy is an approach which argues that your Anxiety is a product of the way that you think internally and not the result of any kind of external influence.

It also argues that any past experiences which you may believe are the cause of your problem, are no longer influential because those situations are no longer happening and therefore do not exist.

By teaching you how to take responsibility for the way that you feel, Reality Therapy can help you to stop creating the anxiety and stress associated with perceived threats as well as significantly improve the sense of control you have over the trajectory of your life going forward.

Free initial consultations for Anxiety lightbulb metaphor

Arrange your FREE initial consultation here.

If you’d like to find out more about overcoming anxiety or recovering from any of your mental health problems then why not arrange a free initial consultation with us.

During this consultation we will discuss your particular issues and the different types of mental health counselling we offer without you having to commit to any counselling going forward.

The consultation lasts around 50 minutes and is a great opportunity to meet with either Paul or Joan and decide if you would like to proceed with any support.

Links to More Information

These links take you to other resources on the web.

Anxiety on the NHS

Gareth is Thriving

Gareth is Thriving

Gareth is Thriving "Well where do I start… I first contacted Paul after my girlfriend had completed the Thrive Programme with him for her Emetophobia. Watching the transformation in her was truly amazing, so I thought I would buy the book and work through it myself....

read more
Katy Lowbridge Smashes Anxiety Stress Guilt

Katy Lowbridge Smashes Anxiety Stress Guilt

Katy Beats Anxiety, Stress & Guilt "I am stronger, happier and more in control than I have ever been before"! When I first met Paul, I was struggling to accept that I had lost my way. I had felt like I was 'spinning plates' in every aspect of my life, trying to...

read more
Anxiety Hypnotherapy Testimonial

Anxiety Hypnotherapy Testimonial

Anxiety & Hypnotherapy - Testimonial I first contacted Joan after having suffered a very difficult period in my life, my husband had been seriously ill with cancer and another very traumatic event had happened to me not long afterwards which I was struggling to...

read more

Not Ready to Commit to Therapy Quite Yet?

Then why not see if you can solve your anxiety problems using our comprehensive, Online Self-Help CBT for Anxiety course.


Written especially for people who prefer not to engage with a therapist before doing everything they can to overcome their problems.

Mirroring our in-house course of CBT, it contains everything that you need to know to tackle mental health challenges for only £149.

Counselling Locations

We offer counselling for anxiety problems for people living in:

  • Wombourne
  • Wolverhampton
  • West Midlands
  • Shropshire
  • South Staffordshire
  • Telford
  • Shrewsbury

You can also access our services around the World using online therapy with Paul.