Dr. Earta Norwood

Video Therapy for Anxiety and Depression

Old Town, Alexandria VA



ANXIETY


Please call me at 571-357-3459 to discuss whether we may be a good fit. I am here to help.


What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a reaction. Anxiety is how we react to worries and uncertainties in life. Most people have felt anxiety at different times during their lives – we all have situations we worry about.

Anxiety disorders can manifest as feelings of tension and worry, as well as physical symptoms like racing heartbeat, difficulty breathing, chest discomfort, dizziness, sweating, chills, trembling, nausea, or abdominal pain.

People experience anxiety in a variety of ways--everyone is different. You might want to consider therapy if you experience any combination of these symptoms, such that they get in the way of your goals. The following are some examples of how anxiety may manifest:

  • Excessive worry--only you can determine what is “too much worry”, If you feel that you’re worrying more than you should, or notice that you’re worrying about something more than others around you, or your worry interferes with daily life you might have be experiencing excessive worry.
  • Tense muscles-- your muscles may be tight or strained to the point of discomfort or even pain. You can feel the discomfort in your jaw, neck, shoulders, arms, back, or legs. You may feel it on and off or all the time.
  • Perfectionism--you may constantly be judging yourself excessively, even for the slightest errors.
  • Repetitive behaviors--the need to frequently repeat simple or patterns of actions in order to calm down may be a signs of anxiety.
  • Self-doubt--You may constantly second-guess yourself, whether it’s about small and insignificant decisions or ideas central to who you are.
  • Chronic digestive issues--abdominal pain, cramping, or other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can be connected with stress, as can chronic heartburn.
  • Sleep problems--trouble falling or staying asleep because of racing thoughts, worrying or overthinking, can be a sign of anxiety.
  • Irrational fears-- avoiding people, animals, places, or situations, because they cause feelings of panic or fear is a sign of anxiety.
  • Stage fright--a bit of nervous tension before public speaking or otherwise being the center of attention is often a good thing. If the nervous tension is overwhelming and it interferes with your ability to perform or socialize, it is a sign of social anxiety.
  • Self-consciousness--feeling as if everyone has their eyes on you and scrutinizes your every word and move can be crushing and incapacitating. That feeling can keep you from engaging with others and living a full life.That distress is likely a sign of anxiety.
  • Panic attacks--they are anxiety and fear reactions and may occur in specific situations or at random times. The fear of experiencing a panic attack may keep you from living your life at its fullest.


How can psychotherapy assist people
with an anxiety disorder?

Therapists can use a variety of approaches to help people with anxiety disorders. Therapy is a powerful method of treating anxiety disorders and it targets the underlying factors that give rise to symptoms of anxiety and contribute in prolonging the distress.

One highly effective approach to treating anxiety is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT focuses both on the thoughts, as well as behaviors that cause and exacerbate symptoms of anxiety disorders.

The “cognitive” piece of CBT targets the thoughts, beliefs, statements about ourselves, and assumed rules that cause the anxiety symptoms. For example, if you are expected to give a presentation for work, it is normal to feel a bit anxious. Some people can acknowledge that distress and engage in reassuring self-talk, such as “I’ve put a lot of work and practice into this, and it will pay off,” or “If I practice a few times, I will do fine.” Someone struggling with anxiety may experience the following:

  • Anxious thoughts: Everyone will notice how uncomfortable I am. My mind will go blank. They will think I’m weird/dumb/unprepared. They will hate me.
  • Beliefs: I am incompetent. I am unlikable. I’m helpless. I am a terrible public speaker.
  • ​Rules: I must not fail. I must do everything perfectly.

You can imagine how these anxious thoughts and beliefs spiral down into agony.You can imagine how someone would try all they can to stop feeling this pain. What if their anxiety never allowed them to develop any strategies for managing this distress? They might try to run away from the pain and just not show up for the presentation. They may try to power through and give the presentation, while being in pain. You can imagine how some of the things they feared may come true.


With CBT, we identify your negative thoughts, we find ways to challenge them, and most importantly we develop new ways to think about yourself and others. We work to replace the anxiety provoking thoughts with more realistic thoughts:

  • Alternative thoughts: Even if people notice how uncomfortable I am, they will still appreciate the knowledge that I am sharing. If my mind will go blank, I can look at my notes and pick up my train of thought. It is possible that someone will think that I am weird/dumb/unprepared and that’s OK; most people will see that I know what I am talking about. Some people may hate me - I can’t make everyone happy – but I have friends and colleagues that like me.
  • Alternative beliefs: I am competent in my field. I can be likable. I am capable. I am an OK public speaker and that’s good enough.
  • Alternative rules: If I fail, I can try again. I don’t have to be perfect; I can be “good enough” and still experience joy.

    Finally, we practice engaging with these new and adaptive thoughts and beliefs. We also develop new behaviors and strategies that can help manage symptoms of anxiety and optimize performance, even if a person will never really love giving presentations and public speaking.

There are many therapeutic approaches and strategies that can help you acknowledge your fears, strategize ways to overcome or get around them, and then accomplish your specific goals.



Dr. Earta Norwood

Video Therapy for Anxiety and Depression


Please call me at 571-357-3459 to discuss whether we may be a good fit. I am here to help.

Old Town, Alexandria VA