How Talk Therapy Could Be Making Your Anxiety Worse

November 25, 2017

“The Nervous System Doesn’t Understand Words, It Understands Images And Feelings.”

Traditional talk therapy has helped alleviate anxiety for many people. However, there have been many instances where talk therapy has caused anxiety to worsen in people with anxiety and other mental, emotional, and spiritual challenges. Below are some examples on how talk therapy can cause anxiety to become worse:

1. Repeatedly talking about the past can re-traumatize the sufferer

Therapists have been trained to do a bio-psycho-social assessment of the sufferer before treating anxiety and other mental disorders. Such an approach is usually marked by discussion with them where the starting point is typically the first event in their lives and then slowly moving forwards from there towards the present, one situation at a time.

Therapists usually follow such an approach as they think that resolution of the current anxiety issue can occur only after dealing with and resolving all previous problems from childhood onwards.

The insistence of some therapists on their clients for detailed talk about their past causes so much pain that in some cases the client changes their therapist or discontinues treatment altogether.

talk therapy doesn't work for anxietyThere are many stories about how repeatedly re-living the trauma during numerous sessions caused the sufferers more pain than the initial traumatic experience.

It is somewhat true that change can’t take place by denying the existence of an emotional, mental, or physical problem. The problems arise when there is persistent digging (talking) of the past even though the client is unable to cope with the problems that he/she is facing today.

The more helpful option is to go for an outcome-based approach. An approach that considers the past, present, and future. Past being which event was the first situation that may have caused the symptoms people experience today (a quick overview), and taking an:

  1. Energetic approach (guided visual imagery)
  2. Emotional approach (creating the vision of what they want and re-living times on when that emotional state was experienced)
  3. Mental approach (healthy skill sets that promote monitoring of thought patterns throughout the day, and replacing them in a conniving manner)
  4. Physical approach (using the physiology to affect the psychology)

To get the fastest change we must understand the coding system to your neurology. Your system is meant to work synergistically through these 4 components, and only then can change rapidly occur.

2. Co-rumination and talk therapy

In some cases talk therapy can trigger issues. Talking and reviewing the same problems, week after week, may cause you to easily get stuck in that rut (and quickly puts a ceiling on how good things can actually be). Repeatedly talking about same problems with a friend is usually termed as co-rumination. When it is done with a therapist, then it can cause the same level of harm and lead to co-rumination.

Experts have termed the above phenomenon as remaining trapped in an issue-laden story. When the same story is repeated again and again then the control that those problems have over the person often gets magnified. The best option is to challenge and efficiently resolve the issue at hand (implementing the 4 components through a proven method) and then start a new story about a future that will be better than one’s past.

3. An incorrect support group and talk therapy

Talk therapy in a wrong support group can worsen anxiety. For example, sufferers who use (illegal) marijuana for calming anxiety and get put in a support group comprising of a large number of heroin addicts by the authorities, are more likely to experience worsening of their mental problems than before.

When engaged in a support group consistently what starts to happen is we become the environment we consistently find ourselves in. Which in turn means 1 step forward 2 steps back, moments of clarity quickly halted by a reality check based around your struggling identity.

As mentioned above, a good support group is one that focuses on an outcome based approach, and has all members working in unison towards a unique and set objective for themselves. Freedom is the goal, not coping. Stress is normal, anxiety is not, so take a good look at what you’re engaged in currently and see how it may be affecting your ability to move forward.

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