Chudleigh Counselling and Psychotherapy

                  07746 599552 [email protected]

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Anxiety is a term used to cover a lot of different experiences, ranging from the slightly disconcerting to the totally disabling.  Most people I see are surprised to hear how common anxiety is and that there is plenty that can be done to help.


Recently I have had a lot of success working with phobias. These have included fears around driving or being driven after a road traffic collision, avoidance of going walking after a fall and a full blown phobia of needles.  


I have found it most helpful to offer a range of approaches from relaxation techniques to very careful and incremental exposure therapy.


One of the things that contributes to the development of a phobia is the initial experience of fear which is often overwhelming and may be mixed with other emotions such as anger or embarrassment. Alongside the emotions, beliefs may form such as “I can’t cope with that ever again” or other thoughts which lead to active avoidance of the thing or situation.  There is nothing more guaranteed to help a phobia take hold, than avoidance.


The physical sensations experienced during a panic attack or other acute episode of anxiety can make a person feel as if they are actually dying or, at least, that the feelings are just getting worse and worse and will never end.  It is not surprising then, that one would do anything to avoid feeling like that again. However, once carefully explored, it is often discovered that the sensations do diminish and pass and the length of time this takes can be shortened with the use of breathing and other relaxation techniques. Building confidence in being able to reduce the length and intensity of a panic attack brings back a sense of control so that the next step of recognising the early signs and taking steps to avoid full-blown panic can be achieved.


Exposure therapy is a term which might alarm someone suffering from a phobia so I wish there was another name for it. It really is a gentle approach.  In practice, I build a strong relationship with my client and learn as much a I can about the development of the fear and what is sustaining it.  We then work together to devise a plan of tiny steps which gradually work towards eliminating the fear.  The first steps may involve just talking and then. later looking at pictures or video.  At each stage the client learns to use relaxation techniques to manage any anxiety that occurs until none or very little is experienced at all.  Only then would we progress to the next step.  Although a gentle technique which can only succeed if taken at the pace the client can manage, it does not necessarily require many sessions as a lot of the work is done between appointments.


There are many other kinds of anxiety besides phobias and I endeavour to match my approach to suit each individual I meet. If you would like to discuss your difficulties with me, I offer a reduced rate for an initial one hour session with no obligation to book any further sessions.  


dont panic