According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about 40 million Americans live with anxiety disorder. From panic disorder to specific phobias to generalized anxiety disorder, there are numerous different forms that anxiety can take.
The good news for the millions of Americans living with some form of anxiety disorder is that anxiety therapy can constitute an effective treatment for reducing anxiety symptoms and helping people improve their mental wellness.
Best of all, these anxiety treatments are now more accessible than ever before, thanks to the rise of telehealth platforms. If you want to get started meeting with an anxiety therapist and taking charge of your mental health, here is everything you should know about finding anxiety counseling near you.
What type of mental health professional is best for anxiety?
Three different types of mental health professionals commonly treat anxiety disorders. Which type of practitioner is best can vary from person to person. With that in mind, let's look at the key distinctions between therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists for treating anxiety.
Therapists and counselors work to evaluate a patient's mental health and use therapeutic techniques to treat various mental health conditions. Therapists typically have a Master's degree rather than a doctorate and aren't authorized to prescribe medication.
Psychologists use psychological assessments and clinical interviews to evaluate mental health. In addition to providing therapy, psychologists can make a formal diagnosis of mental health conditions, but, like therapists, they cannot prescribe or manage medication.
Psychiatrists differ from therapists and psychologists because they are licensed medical doctors who have completed medical school and earned their MD (Doctor of Medicine) or DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine).
Psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners commonly offer the same therapy services as psychologists and therapists, but are authorized to prescribe and manage medication for a patient.
How can I find an anxiety therapy near me?
Thanks to a growing number of resources designed to help therapy seekers find the right provider, finding and scheduling an appointment for anxiety counseling is now easier than ever.
If you have decided to get help with your anxiety, here are some of the best resources that you can use to find the right anxiety therapist:
Get matched on a telehealth platform like SonderMind
Today, the best way to find an in-person or online therapist for anxiety is to use a telehealth platform like SonderMind.
With SonderMind, you can complete a brief questionnaire to determine your therapy needs and preferences. Based on your answers to this questionnaire, SonderMind will then match you with either an in-person therapist in your area or an online therapist and allow you to schedule an appointment on a date that works for you.
SonderMind also allows clients to match and schedule appointments with psychiatric providers, making the platform an excellent option no matter what type of mental health professional you would like to see.
Meet with your doctor
Getting a referral from your primary care doctor is another great way to schedule a meeting with a mental health professional. After learning more about your condition and needs, your primary care doctor can refer you to a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist in your area and help you schedule an appointment. However, if you use a telehealth platform like SonderMind, you don’t need a referral to meet with a therapist.
Check your insurance provider
Insurance coverage for mental health services has expanded significantly in recent years. However, it's still important to ensure that your insurance plan covers the therapy services you seek to avoid paying out of pocket. Before you schedule an appointment with a professional counselor or any other mental health professional, contact your insurance provider in advance to discuss the details of your plan, what is covered, and what you can expect to pay.
Contact local mental health organizations
Depending on where you live, you may be able to find nonprofit mental health organizations in your area that exist to make mental health services more accessible to people in their communities. Contacting these local organizations can help you learn more about the providers in your area and their services. Some mental health organizations may even help match you with the right provider.
Types of talk therapy that help with anxiety
There are numerous different therapy methods that therapists and counselors employ to treat anxiety, including:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
CBT is a therapy method that addresses how your thoughts and behaviors impact your anxiety. This type of talk therapy focuses on helping patients identify and challenge unhelpful thought patterns and behaviors that are contributing to their anxiety. It also teaches coping skills that patients can apply to their daily lives outside of therapy.
Exposure therapy is most commonly used to treat phobia-related anxiety disorders and involves incrementally exposing patients to the source of their fears in a comfortable and controlled environment.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR)
EMDR treats anxiety disorders, and can also be used in the treatment of other mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder. This innovative therapy involves having the patient focus on the traumatic memory while undergoing bilateral stimulation — which is eye movement similar to how your eyes move during REM sleep.
This process has been shown to reduce the vividness and discomfort of the traumatic memories that are the source of the patient's anxiety.
Interpersonal therapy (IPT)
IPT focuses on addressing relationship issues that cause anxiety and is similar to the services offered by a family and marriage counselor. For patients whose anxiety centers around their relationships with others, improving those relationships with IPT can be highly beneficial.
Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
Dialectical behavioral therapy shares a lot in common with cognitive behavioral therapy. The biggest difference between DBT and CBT is that DBT focuses on helping patients cope with negative thoughts and emotions rather than trying to eliminate them.
How does therapy help with anxiety?
For people living with anxiety, professional therapy can provide several both short-term and lifelong benefits, like:
Some types of anxiety can be rooted in specific triggers or stressors. For example, a person may have a specific phobia that triggers their anxiety, certain relationships with others that are causing anxiety, or certain situations that trigger their anxiety. Identifying these triggers can be a first step in treating anxiety, and knowing your triggers will help you and your therapist create a more targeted treatment plan for your anxiety.
Therapy methods like cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy can reframe how you process negative thoughts and emotions.
In some cases, learning methods of changing your mindset can impact how a person perceives external factors that are impacting their anxiety. The cognitive restructuring that therapy for anxiety provides can often provide patients with a much healthier and more balanced outlook on life.
Relaxation techniques and coping mechanisms
Treating anxiety can involve learning coping skills and relaxation techniques that can be applied to life outside of therapy sessions. This can include breathing exercises, sleep tracking, meditation, dietary changes, and reframing negative thoughts.
Effective treatment for anxiety should continue to benefit you long after your therapy session is over. Teaching proven relaxation techniques and coping strategies is one way mental health professionals provide those with anxiety with the tools they need to control their condition throughout the rest of their lives.
Support and validation
Anxiety is a condition that is often not well understood by those who have never lived with it. This can leave many people who have anxiety feeling like they are being judged or misunderstood, which often only compounds the effects of their condition.
A great therapist with experience treating anxiety will be a compassionate and empathetic listener. The support, validation, and empathy that therapists provide can be highly comforting and valuable to people with anxiety.
Match with a counselor near you with SonderMind
Anxiety is a treatable condition, and the therapeutic techniques used by compassionate, experienced therapists are proven to help reduce anxiety's mental and physical symptoms.
If you're ready to treat your anxiety and improve your mental health, SonderMind can help! To match with the perfect online or in-person therapist for your unique preferences and needs, get started with SonderMind today.