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Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is amongst  the most common conditions that clients present to Clinical Psychologists. In recent years there has become available an increasing range of specific treatment strategies.

Anxiety disorders are not simply about being too anxious; they are about irrational worry and avoidance of situations that are the focus of the worry.
People with Panic Disorder worry about the result of the Panic, people with Social Phobia worry their behaviour will result in shame, those with Obsessive –Compulsive behavior worry that their obsessions will come true. Those with Agoraphobia have a fear they will not be able to escape from a place they are in e.g. traffic jam, open space.

People with anxiety disorders are sensitive to stress and become upset easily. They also avoid situations, and limit opportunities related to this avoidance.

Treatment approaches aims to reduce the emotional sensitivity to stress and manage the avoidance behaviour.

There is a range of evidence based treatment approaches.

A priority is to define the nature of the anxiety, then tailor whatever approach suits the client.

The approaches used by this writer include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Mindfulness , Emotional Focused Therapy, Metacognitive Therapy and  Clinical Hypnosis.


Fear is adaptive. It has served humans well in our struggle for survival.

Fear is a highly unpleasant feeling and provides people with a compelling signal to escape from danger or seek protection.Fear is a response to a specific situation.

Acknowledging adaptive fear lets us know something is threatening.

Fear organises people to flee long before they are consciously aware of what the threat is.

Anxiety on the other hand is a response to “threats” and uncertainties  sensed in the mind, which can be symbolic, psychological or a reaction to social situations.

Our ability to anticipate lets us experience anxiety. It is a gift and a ‘curse’ at the same time.

The positive side of anxiety is being ready for what one is anticipating.

Often however fear and anxiety are maladaptive, interfering with out ability to function optimally, and intruding into areas of our personal, work and leisure activities.

Certain childhood or relationship experiences, can lead to fear of intimacy, fear of losing control, and fear of abandonment.

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    Christchurch 8011
    New Zealand

    Phone: (03) 348 5595