Statistics Canada last year reported an increase in the number of people suffering from general anxiety, from 13% in fall 2020 to 15% in spring 2021, as a result of the pandemic. Its findings point to most affected people being youths aged 18 to 24, though a substantial population aged 25 to 44 are also suffering. (1)
Health practitioners believe they have a long road ahead in managing people’s mental well-being in these trying times. Regardless, they’ll help however they can with whatever they have at their disposal. At the helm will be anxiety counselling specialists, registered professionals that manage anxiety disorders through various psychological approaches.
If anxiety is giving you undue stress, seeking counselling in Vancouver is a step in the right direction. If you live outside of Vancouver, BC it would be good to start with a local search of counselling clinics. Here’s how counselling can help:
Talk without being physically present
Leaving one’s home has become more challenging than ever because of the pandemic. Whether or not they’re fully vaccinated, the mere thought of getting the disease or passing it unawares can bring undue stress. From the Statistics Canada report, the effects of suffering from anxiety range from loneliness to struggling with relationships. (1)
Thanks to technology, people don’t have to leave their homes to go to their appointment. Many counselling services offer virtual sessions, enabling therapists to talk to their patients through computer or phone. Some even maintain a local brick-and-mortar clinic so that patients can move to physical consultations once they feel that it’s safe to go out.
Virtual counselling has seen widespread use over the pandemic, with many employers providing such benefits to their workforces. One major bank announced that they’re expanding employee benefits to include virtual counselling and other internet-based treatments starting April this year. The move is a response to many of their employees availing these services. (2)
Help you come to a realization
Regardless of the condition, the main objective of a Vancouver anxiety therapist or one from any other city is to help the patient overcome whatever’s causing them distress. One typical approach therapists use involves helping the patient reflect back on past events to determine the root cause.
In the case of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), the therapist instead helps the patient think about more recent happenings. CBT works on the tendency of the human mind to come up with unhelpful meanings to issues or events. To quote the American Psychological Association, this approach helps people “become their own therapist.” (3)
As CBT is a broad category of psychotherapy, there’s no single magic bullet in approaching mental health conditions. Therapists formulate their strategies based on consultations with the patient. They use that information to decide on the most appropriate learning tools, some of which include:
- Individual or group sessions
- Calming techniques
- Gradual exposure (for fear cases)
- Keeping diaries or journals (3)
A healthy mind leads to a healthy body. That said, you can imagine how much CBT contributes to promoting overall health by encouraging people to think positively.
Refer to support groups
The number of sessions necessary depends on the severity of the mental health condition, with short-term psychotherapy lasting anywhere from 10-16 sessions. But make no mistake: the end of therapy doesn’t necessarily mark the end of treatment. (4)
Some therapists may advise their patients to join a support group for continued management of their conditions. These groups may be either a nonprofit organization managed by a hospital or community or a simple gathering of people with similar cases. There’s almost always someone to talk to and connect with in such groups, preventing people from feeling isolated.
While support groups offer plenty of benefits, they also carry some drawbacks. Conversations within some of these groups may be dominated by unsound comparisons of the severity of their cases, which may cause friction. Below are some tips on choosing support groups:
- Search the group’s name in the directories of well-known organizations. You can check the Mood Disorders Association of BC’s directory for Vancouver-based groups.
- Ask the group for more information, such as where and when it regularly meets and if they carry a membership fee (an unusually high fee is a red flag).
- Avoid groups that promise or claim a cure to a condition or pressure you to join. Mental health treatment should be empowering and self-driven, and should not be via promise of a “magic bullet” or coercion.
Anxiety—and other mental health conditions, for that matter—are hard to manage independently. Such situations warrant a helping hand, no less from a trained and registered therapist. You’ll be surprised at how effective they can be in helping you create change for the better.
- “Stats Canada reports significant pandemic-related jumps in depression and anxiety”, Source: https://www.vancouverislandfreedaily.com/news/stats-canada-report-shows-covid-19-pandemic-impacting-mental-health/
- “Scotiabank invests in 24/7 mental health benefits”, Source: https://www.hcamag.com/ca/specialization/employment-law/scotiabank-invests-in-247-mental-health-benefits/316389
- “How does cognitive behavioral therapy work?” Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/296579
- “Psychotherapy”, Source: https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-illness-and-addiction-index/psychotherapy