new york anxiety therapy

How Anxiety Therapy Works

Psychoanalytic therapy is unusually well-suited to addressing emotional issues that may have deep roots in your life. Unlike so-called “workbook” therapies which focus only on behavior, psychoanalysis focuses on the causes of that behavior – and on exploring better ways to address the issues at stake. One of the big topics we cover at the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center is anxiety: how to recognize it, and how to treat it from a psychoanalytic perspective.

This recent article discusses that process in some depth, noting what makes this approach different from some others in the field of psychology:

Depending on which school of psychoanalytic thought you ask, you will get different points of view on the matter. However, one thing in common is that as with any other symptom in psychoanalysis, the symptom of anxiety is understood as having an unconscious meaning, specific and unique to the individual, who presents with it.

The things we feel are not always literal reflections of the world around us. Often they gain unexpected power because they strike a symbolic chord within us, echoing or mirroring dynamics from earlier in our lives. Understanding anxiety this way helps us unlock the patterns that hold us back in adult life.

To find a therapist in New York who can help you find relief from anxiety, click here.

One More Endorsement for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

We wrote recently about the growing number of think pieces dedicated to “rediscovering” psychoanalysis and calling for its return to the mainstream. (Some of us maintained that it never went away, but no matter.) This recent piece in Forbes makes the case as well as any of them, pointing not just to the lasting and substantive benefits of analytic therapy, but also to its increasingly strong showing in a number of empirical analyses:

For example, a 2013 randomized control trial demonstrated the efficacy of psychoanalytic psychotherapy for treating panic disorder. A 2010 meta-analytic review of available outcome studies showed that “empirical evidence supports the efficacy” of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. It further showed that the magnitude of change in psychoanalytic psychotherapy is “as large as those reported for other therapies that have been actively promoted as ‘empirically supported’ and ‘evidence based’.”

But the piece also identifies one of the key criticisms leveled at this kind of therapy, namely that its bespoke nature resists a one-size-fits-all training regime, or testing protocol:

Because psychoanalytic psychotherapy adapts technique to the unique individuality of each patient, it can seem to some like all art and no science. “Where’s the manual!” goes the cry. The fact is that psychoanalytic psychotherapists typically rely on research to guide the moment-to-moment decisions of a clinical encounter, especially infant development research and increasingly neuroscience. If CBT, as a way to illustrate, can be thought of as someone expertly playing sheet music, psychoanalytic psychotherapy is more like well-structured improvisational jazz.

Of course this isn’t a flaw, but the source of psychoanalysis’s prodigious strength—and the reason so many people of different beliefs and predilections find it singularly effective.

Our psychoanalytic therapists offer depression therapy, anxiety therapy, LGBT-friendly therapy and even low-cost therapy right here in New York. To get started right away, click here.

When Anxiety Strikes Young

It is not an uncommon sight these days: a teenager, laboring under the gargantuan expectations of today’s schools, suddenly struggling to breathe. The episode is just one of the many outward symptoms of an anxiety disorder; for other people, the issue can manifest as an ongoing sense of dread, panic or overwhelm. Because anxiety can strike at any age, many schools have found themselves hard-pressed to handle each case with the appropriate care:

School counselors and nurses alike have cited increased amounts of stress, pressure, social media, and divorce as causes for this surge in anxiety that has not only affected the teens who suffer but school administrators trying to help their students.

As one administrator put it:

Sevier said she now encounters students with anxiety on a “daily basis.” Thirty years ago, Sevier said she dealt with more “normal” teenage issues, such as conflicts with parents, friends, and significant others. Now, Sevier said she sees more severe cases of anxiety.

Some forms of anxiety respond well to drugs or cognitive-behavioral therapy. Other kinds of anxiety may require a more psychoanalytic approach, as patient and therapist together explore the early experiences that have given rise to the disorder.

Seeking anxiety therapy in New York gets easier when you can tap into a network of analytic therapists who have received special training in easing these symptoms. At PPSC, we are proud to offer low cost psychotherapy for teenagers and adults in search of a lasting solution to anxiety.

To learn more, please contact us here today.

More Reasons to Seek Therapy for Anxiety

Epidemiological studies are often poorly designed and prone to later reversals, so conclusions based on large cohort studies should be taken with a grain of salt. Still, the results of a recent large-scale analysis showed a stark danger associated with taking anti-anxiety medications for a long time, compared with people who had similar symptoms but took no such medication:

For more than seven years, researchers followed 34,727 people who filled prescriptions for anti-anxiety medications like Valium and Xanax, or sleep aids like Ambien, Sonata and Lunesta, comparing them with 69,418 controls who did not.

After adjusting for a wide variety of factors, the researchers found that people who took the drugs had more than double the risk of death.

There is no question that these drugs are life-savers for some people, and there is no question that anxiety can have biological precipitants. But studies such as this one also underscore the relative safety of anxiety therapy, especially analytic therapy designed to root out and resolve some of the emotional causes of pervasive fear and dread.

If you have tried medicine and found it lacking, or you simply want a better way to address the causes instead of the symptoms of your anxiety, please contact the New York anxiety experts at PPSC today.

Living with Anxiety

A vivid article on anxiety in last month’s Atlantic ignited a powerful response across the media. In it, author Scott Stossel describes the searing panic and existential dread that can overcome him even at in moments of relative calm:

On ordinary days, doing ordinary things—reading a book, lying in bed, talking on the phone, sitting in a meeting, playing tennis—I have thousands of times been stricken by a pervasive sense of existential dread and been beset by nausea, vertigo, shaking, and a panoply of other physical symptoms. In these instances, I have sometimes been convinced that death, or something somehow worse, was imminent.

Stossel addresses public speaking in particular as the classic anxiogenic situation, or one that produces anxiety. And his approach to calming his nerves goes far beyond any instructions on the label, including huge doses of Xanax and vodka:

Only when I am sedated to near-stupefaction by a combination of benzodiazepines and alcohol do I feel (relatively) confident in my ability to speak in public effectively and without torment. As long as I know that I’ll have access to my Xanax and liquor, I’ll suffer only moderate anxiety for days before a speech, rather than sleepless dread for months.

Stossel avers to having tried everything under the sun, with minimal results. His is a case of uncommonly acute and intractable anxiety, one which appears to resist both emotional remedies such as psychotherapy, and physical remedies such as prescription drugs and even low doses of alcohol.

Yet anxiety isn’t untreatable. In many people, it bears many of the hallmarks of obsessional disorders such as OCD:

Even when not actively afflicted by such acute episodes, I am buffeted by worry: about my health and my family members’ health; about finances; about work; about the rattle in my car and the dripping in my basement; about the encroachment of old age and the inevitability of death; about everything and nothing. Sometimes this worry gets transmuted into low-grade physical discomfort—stomachaches, headaches, dizziness, pains in my arms and legs—or a general malaise, as though I have mononucleosis or the flu. At various times, I have developed anxiety-induced difficulties breathing, swallowing, even walking; these difficulties then become obsessions, consuming all of my thinking.

Many of our patients here at the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center are able to unpack the causes of their worry through focused anxiety therapy. Sophisticated psychotherapy remains one of the most powerful responses to chronic emotional conditions like this precisely because it treats causes, not symptoms. Many people discover that what lies beneath their anxiety can be addressed, and remedied, through nothing more than conversation with a trained psychotherapist.

If you’d like to learn more about anxiety therapy in New York, please don’t hesitate to contact us.