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Therapy for Anxiety
in London, Ontario

Maybe you're here because you - or someone you love - is struggling with anxiety. Or maybe you've been assessed and told you have an anxiety disorder.  You might be feeling a bit overwhelmed or unsure what to do. This page has lots of information about anxiety ... and the following video is a good start.

Kathy Roberts, Therapist
Signature, Kathy Roberts

Therapy is a key part of dealing with anxiety. I'm Kathy Roberts, and for over 30 years, I've helped people with anxiety learn and apply skills to live a happier, more balanced life.

I encourage you to review the information below. But if you're already thinking that I might be the therapist you're looking for, then let's have a (no charge) 15 minute chat. You can call me at 519-281-8289 or complete this form:

What is Anxiety?

Worry. Fear. Stress. Anxiety. We hear these words almost every day. We talk about feeling stressed before a final exam, or we say that we're anxious about making a public presentation. Fear and stress are perfectly normal ... and even helpful in many cases.

But when anxiety has a tight grip over our daily lives - when the thought of going to a party is as scary as actually meeting an angry grizzly bear, we have a challenging anxiety problem.

Anxiety is more than just being worried or stressed.

  • Worry is an emotion we feel when our minds focus on negative thoughts and things that could go wrong.  Worry can actually be helpful if it kickstarts a problem-solving process and equips us to take action.

  • Fear and stress are responses to an external event that is out of our control. Our bodies release adrenaline and cortisol and go into "fight or flight" mode. Chronic stress happens when the external trigger(s) stay unresolved for a long time, and it can negatively affect both our physical and mental health. 

  • Anxiety is like chronic stress, but it often happens even when there is no obvious cause or when the threat is relatively minor. Many people have moderate or occasional anxiety, and that's not usually a big problem. But when anxiety permeates the core of our being and fills us with dread, that's called an anxiety disorder; it is a serious medical condition that requires professional support.

I might have anxiety if ...​

  • I worry about everything all the time

  • I can’t stop my anxious thinking

  • I keep having big mood swings

  • I’m jumpy and easily startled

  • I have panic attacks at school/work

  • I often feel restless and irritable

  • I avoid social gatherings

  • I feel like an impostor

  • I get so stressed that I feel paralyzed

  • I can’t concentrate on anything

  • I struggle to fall asleep every night
  • I avoid conflict at all costs

  • I feel totally exhausted all the time

  • I'm convinced that no one likes me

  • I can’t afford any time off from work

  • I'd rather stay home than face the  stressful world out there

  • I feel like something is about to go  wrong; I’m often looking for danger

  • I often feel like I've done something wrong, or that I’m not good enough

  • I have physical symptoms like hot flashes, a thumping  heartbeat, shakiness, light-headedness, etc. 

Anxious mind

Causes and Triggers of Anxiety

The underlying causes of anxiety disorders are not well understood. Contributing factors include genetics (i.e. inherited traits), environmental exposure, personality and traumatic life experiences.  Some cases are simply situational; there's not always an easy explanation for the "why" of anxiety.

What we do know is that anxiety tends to get worse over time. Furthermore, over 50% of people with anxiety also suffer from depression. In most of those cases, the anxiety came first, and the depression was a consequence of the anxiety. Unfortunately, anxiety doesn't naturally fade away; it must be treated. 

This video has some helpful insights into the things you might be thinking (or doing) that trigger your anxiety.

Treating Anxiety

There are a number of things you can do to help with your anxiety. The first two are pretty much mandatory. But only a super-hero would try to do all of them. Don't be a super-hero. Just pick some that resonate with you.

  • See a doctor. They will probably do a broad health assessment. After all, you might not even have an anxiety disorder! Your doctor could identify (and treat) physical issues that are causing your anxiety-like symptoms. Or they may rule out physical causes and diagnose an anxiety disorder. Finally - depending on how serious your symptoms are - they may prescribe medication.

  • Find a good therapist ... someone who will help you explore the underlyng causes of your anxiety and help you learn and apply skills to improve your life. Therapy works. More on this later.

Therapist and client (photo)
  • ​Learn about anxiety. This webpage is a good start, but there are lots of other excellent resources  on the internet.  Anxiety Canada is a good start.

  • Eat a balanced diet. And decrease your caffeine intake.

  • Practice good sleep hygiene. Here's a resource for teens
  • Exercise. Move your body. Exercise can actually be more effective than medication for treating anxiety.

  • Learn how to manage your anxiety by using relaxation, grounding and self-regulation skills. These will help you feel more present in your body and your environment.

  • Practice mindfulness or meditation. There are some excellent resources online.

  • Rediscover a hobby you previously enjoyed.  Find something you're passionate about.
  • Connect face-to-face with friends and family.

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The Importance of Therapy

Talk therapy is almost always a key part of an anxiety treatment plan.

Therapy helps in a number of ways:

 

Therapists use a number of tools to accomplish these goals. The most common & effective is CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).

Therapist and client (graphic)

However, research has consistently shown that - regardless of what therapeutic tool is used - the best predictor of the success of therapy is "... the strength of the alliance formed between the therapist and the client. They hold mutual goals, and they hold each other in mutual positive regard." Unsurprisingly, a second strong predictor of the success of therapy is simply how hard you - the client - is prepared to work at getting better.

So, there is no guarantee that therapy will work. But a study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health (USA) found that over half of all patients who received therapy for anxiety experienced significant improvement in their symptoms. To improve the odds, combine a great therapist with a committed client and a strong mutual connection!

How to Find a Great Therapist

There are lots of therapists in London. But how do you find a great one?

Let's start with some general principles:

  • When it comes to anxiety disorders, complete recovery is rare. Be skeptical of therapists who promise miracles. In your treatment journey, you'll need a pragmatic, perceptive, persistent therapist to travel that road with you.

  • Experience matters. Look for a therapist who has been in the trenches.

  • Your therapist should understand and accept that medication often plays an important role in the treament of a difficult anxiety disorder.

  • Personal connection is key. Find a therapist with whom you can speak freely and share mutual respect. Don't fully commit to any therapist until you've had a session or two. 

  • In-person sessions are preferable. When we engage face to face, we nurture the interpersonal connection that enables us to dig deep and move forward. 

Great Therapist
Kathy Roberts, Therapist

I'm Kathy Roberts, I have a full-time private practice in London Ontario, and I might be the therapist you're looking for.  

  • I'm caring. I'm a good listener, empathetic, compassionate and down-to-earth.

  • I'm qualified. I'm a Registered Social Worker (RSW) with an MSW degree, a wealth of post-graduate anxiety-specific training and a solid therapeutic toolkit.

  • I'm experienced. For over 30 years, I've helped people with anxiety learn and apply skills to live a happier, more balanced life.

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If this resonates with you, then let's start with a 15-minute (no charge) phone discussion. You can call me at  519-281-8289  (and if I'm not immediately available, I'll call you back within 24 hours). OR click here to go to the New Client page and tell me a bit about yourself. I'll call you at a time that works for you. 

If that goes well, we'll schedule an initial session or two. And after that, we'll take another checkpoint. Are we connecting?  Have we made some progress?  Shall we continue to work together? 

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