Types or Anxiety and Anxiety Treatments, Pearse Kieran Clinical Psychotherapist discusses…

Treatments Anxiety

Treatments Anxiety

In treating anxiety, it can be helpful to classify certain types of anxiety. Typically, we have four types as follows:

Cognitive anxiety

Somatic anxiety

State anxiety

Trait anxiety

Cognitive Anxiety

Cognitive anxiety is related to a person’s thoughts or thinking patterns. It includes worries, uncertainties, self-doubts, apprehensions, and repetitive cycles called ruminations. It is the kind of anxiety that keeps a person awake at night and distracted during the day. People talk of having the same thoughts or worries over and over again, or a video clip is replaying in their brain constantly, or they appear obsessed by a certain detail or issue that upsets them.

Somatic Anxiety

Somatic anxiety is a more physical experience for some people. There are different symptoms for each person. It is experienced as a range of possibilities including nausea, increased breathing rate, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, dizziness, headaches, feeling cold and sweaty, muscle tremors, and tension. The person uses phrases like ‘butterflies in the stomach’, feeling ‘light-headed’, needing to ‘catch their breath’, or ‘feeling cold’ in a warm room.

It is important to realise here that although the symptoms might be obvious to a trained professional the person often does not realise at all that these symptoms are anxiety-related. For some people there is a strange disconnection between their symptoms and their knowledge of what is happening.

State Anxiety

State anxiety is when a person experiences anxiety in very specific set of circumstances. A good example would be exam nerves, or stage-fright or making a speech in front of a group of people. The anxiety symptoms are much the same as before, but the situation is often very specific. Social anxiety and performance anxiety are common forms. The person might be quite confident under most other circumstances but when they have to perform a particular task or in a particular state of mind, they cannot find the same confidence and anxiety begins to overwhelm them. Sometimes this attack of anxiety can be very severe and lead to ‘choking’ where a person’s ability to perform the task collapses with catastrophic consequences.

Trait Anxiety

Trait anxiety is related to a persons personality type. People who might be introverted, neurotic or very reactive might be able to sense a threat very early. In our modern hectic and busy lifestyles, this can lead to the experience of near constant anxiety and a heightened awareness of situations and people. People with trait anxiety often seek quieter more peaceful spaces and places. A corollary of these traits however is that these same personality traits also provide qualities such as imagination and creativity, new approaches and understandings to old problems and visionary skills. Such traits are seen in artists, musicians, writers and other creative and emotionally charged people.

The day to day effects of Anxiety

All anxiety can be distracting, causing doubt and uncertainty in decision-making. Mild anxiety can cause a loss of concentration, focus and performance in the short term. Moderate anxiety creates a type of paralysis in decision making and stops a person moving along productively in their life. Longer term or chronic anxiety can be debilitating, exhausting and sometimes damaging. Unchecked anxiety can cause people to lose jobs and relationships. A great many lost opportunities occur before a person begins to realise that their anxiety has been the cause.

Anxiety Treatment

The overall treatment ethos for anxiety is to build confidence through self-awareness. This can be achieved through exposure to the challenging stressors, but also through practice and training to build skills and the ability to be more confident. Self-awareness and understanding the triggers can be immensely helpful. Mindfulness and meditation can be very helpful. Learning to self-regulate and monitors one’s own thoughts and feelings can be very important. Becoming aware of negative automatic or repetitive thoughts and checking for avoidant behaviours are valuable strategies too.

Anxiety can usually be treated easily through psychotherapy.

Would you like to make an appointment with Pearse?

For any enquiries you might have, contact us in confidence

There are many more Testimonials on our Treatments and Courses pages under Emmett Technique including upcoming short courses for amateurs and longer courses for those wanting to train as professionals.  Contact John at the Healing Team on +353 1 830 6413 or email: info@TheHealingHouse.ie

Treatments Anxiety


Anxiety – Pearse Kieran Clinical Psychotherapist discusses…

The Healing House


Anxiety – A Human Context

Anxiety is a word many of us understand intuitively. We tend to associate it with worry and stress. In clinical terms however it is described as an unpleasant state experienced as apprehension, nervousness, uneasiness and distress. It is associated with a heightened arousal of the senses and an increased activation of the reflexes and nervous system. People with anxiety often appear jumpy, jittery, afraid, nervous, and not relaxed or comfortable.

Origins of Anxiety

Anxiety probably has its origins in evolution and development where it paid well to be extra-aware of predators or always ready for flight or fight. We see lots of examples of these behaviours in other mammals, especially herd animals like deer, antelope, or zebra, meerkats, typically skittish animals that are quick to react to threats or easily frightened into hiding or running away. This behaviour would have been their best defense against being attacked by predators.

Anxiety, Fear and Habits

Anxiety seems to connect to fear but it is different. Fear typically has an object, something it is directly related to or focused on. Anxiety can be directed at something in particular but it can also be diffuse or free-floating.

Anxiety however can lead to changes in habits and behaviours. Anxious people will often avoid stressful situations or places. These people may believe that they are managing their anxiety by simply avoiding the stressors or the people or places that cause them to be anxious. This avoidance technique does not ‘solve’ the problem however, in fact it actually maintains the problem.

More importantly when anxiety continues to affect a person it will inevitably reduce their self-confidence. These losses can make recovery even more difficult.

When anxiety gets out of control or becomes overwhelming for the person then real difficulties begin to show up. This is when we describe anxiety as really problematic.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalised Anxiety Disorder is a common diagnosis for anxiety. The person experiences ‘inappropriate’ anxiety, often so frequently that it feels more or less constant. The anxiety is so prolonged that the person has often forgotten when it first began or whether it related to a specific worry or object in the first place. It can be treated with medication.

Anxiety and Personality

 Personality plays a role in how we each experience anxiety. Certain personality traits are innate and some are learned. Some people are naturally cautious and easily triggered to be very aware of their surroundings and other people around them. Sometimes this is driven by an adrenaline response or a hyper-sensitivity to things like loud noises or changes.

In psychodynamic therapy, anxiety is explained as a conflict within the mind. The unconscious wants something to happen but the conscious mind has concerns about it. If the unconscious desire became a reality then it might upset the balance. This could also be interpreted as a clash between the id and the ego. The person might feel a lot of uncertainty and doubt around the issue, leading to a lack of confidence which makes the overall problem much worse. The psychotherapist will help the patient discover the conflict and understand the ‘unconscious’ desire and the issues or conflicts around it.

Anxiety and Self Awareness

It can be very important to recognise that increased anxiety can cause serious reductions in

confidence. Anxiety also causes losses in self-esteem and self-efficacy. This can be a vicious downward spiral for a person. The loss of confidence becomes contagious and affects other parts of the person’s life, including work, socialising, going out and most importantly it affects relationships.

In our next blog post we will continue our discussion on Anxiety and focus on Treatments for Anxiety.  Keep an eye on our blog and social media platforms.

Would you like to make an appointment with Pearse?

For any enquiries you might have, contact us in confidence

There are many more Testimonials on our Treatments and Courses pages under Emmett Technique including upcoming short courses for amateurs and longer courses for those wanting to train as professionals.  Contact John at the Healing Team on +353 1 830 6413 or email: info@TheHealingHouse.ie