Anxiety and panic are exhausting, and can leave you feeling like you'll never again be able to just relax and be yourself. But our highly experienced anxiety therapists can teach you proven methods to manage your thinking and overcome your fears, so you can once again enjoy life.
What is anxiety?
Feeling anxious in difficult situations like exams and job interviews is completely normal. And if we end up in a dangerous situation or facing a big challenge, our body triggers our stress response to give us more focus and help us manage.
But if you have an anxiety problem your mind always finds something to panic about, even if it's illogical. Unlike worry, even if you think of a solution to an issue, your fearful thinking doesn't stop, it just finds something else to focus on. Your stress response triggers at the slightest thing, leaving you distressed and dealing with uncomfortable physical symptoms like a racing heart.
When is it time to seek help for anxiety?
It's a good idea to seek anxiety treatment if:
- your anxiety has gone on for several weeks or more
- it is a constant part of your daily life
- you are experiencing panic attacks
- you cannot control your anxiety
- it's not improving or is even getting worse
- you are making life choices based around your anxiety
- including stopping doing things that you enjoy doing otherwise
- and your coping skills are affected.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for anxiety
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is currently the most common treatment for anxiety disorders. It is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for generalised anxiety disorder and panic disorder, and is shown by recent research to help even a year post treatment.1
CBT therapy for anxiety helps you recognise and manage your anxiety triggers, and turn negative triggering thoughts into balanced, helpful ones that see you move forward. Some CBT therapists also use 'exposure therapy', helping you face things you are afraid of step by step.
Anxiety counselling - the Harley Therapy™ approach
At Harley Therapy™ all our psychotherapists and counselling psychologists are integrative. This means they have trained not just in CBT, but also several other therapy approaches. So they can tailor your therapy to truly suit your individual needs, giving you the coping methods you need to get your life back on track.
Symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks
Thinking and emotional symptoms of anxiety include:
- wild, racing, and illogical thoughts you can't stop
- feelings of fear and dread
- constantly scanning for danger
- worries about losing control
- dissociation (feeling out of body)
- depersonalisation (feeling like your body isn't yours)
- irritability, being on edge, mood swings
- planning your life in order to avoid perceived dangers
- a constant feeling that something bad is going to happen.
Physical symptoms can look like:
- a racing or irregular heartbeat, chest pain
- physical trembling, tingling or numbness in hands/feet
- hot and cold flashes leading to sweatiness or claminess
- shortness of breath and feeling you are choking
- muscle tension and unexplained aches and pains
- feeling lightheaded and dizzy
- headaches, nausea, an upset stomach
- sleep disturbances and changes to eating patterns.
Our welcoming central London therapy clinics
We offer therapy for anxiety at three central London locations. As well as our main clinic on the renowned Harley Street in W1, we also have therapy rooms at London Bridge (SE1) and near Liverpool Street (EC2).
If you’re unable, or prefer not to come for therapy in person, online therapy is another way to seek support from an accredited therapist with Harley Therapy. All therapists offer online therapy sessions using platforms such as Skype, Facetime, Zoom, etc.
Whether looking for a face to face or online appointment the booking process options are the same. Either find a therapist by browsing through the list on this page and book online, or call our experienced support team who will match you with a therapist who is best suited to your specific needs and book over the phone.
All therapy sessions last for 50 minutes and our fee structure is very simple.
What is a panic attack and panic disorder?
Anxiety attacks are very strong experiences of anxiety that have a trigger. We might worry we are having a heart attack, but afterwards can calm down and make sense of things.
Panic attacks, on the other hand, are more likely to occur out of the blue, and feel so severe you can be convinced you will faint or die. After a panic attack you can struggle to relax or end up having several more attacks. If this becomes a constant issue for you, and you live in fear of another such experience, you might be diagnosed with 'panic attack disorder'.
The different types of anxiety disorders
Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
This is the most common diagnosis, given if your anxiety has gone on for six months or more. It sees you constantly living with excessive and uncontrollable worry over certain activities and/or events, and managing other anxiety symptoms like illogical and fearful thinking.
Other anxiety disorders include:
- acute stress disorder
- panic disorder
- postpartum anxiety
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- specific phobias
- separation anxiety disorder
- social anxiety (with or without agoraphobia).
Related mental health issues
Your therapist can also diagnose if your anxiety is part of another, related disorder. Anxiety can be connected to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), substance abuse issues, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
But I've always been the anxious type
Chronic anxiety often means you grew up with a parent who was anxious, or in a household that was unstable. Or you lived through childhood trauma that deeply affected your sense of self and worth. Whatever the case, therapy can make a difference, no matter how long you've lived with fearful thinking or if you have high functioning anxiety.
Breathe again with anxiety counselling
Give us a call today to talk to an expert anxiety therapist who understands what you are going through, and has helped many others just like you to thrive.
Further reading an anxiety and panic
- Harley Therapy guide to anxiety and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
- NHS guide to anxiety disorder
- MIND guide to anxiety treatment
- When does anxiety become anxiety disorder?
- Anxiety and depression - what's the difference?
- 7 Surprising ways anxiety can ruin your life
- What therapies help anxiety?
- Exposure therapy for anxiety - could it work for you?
- Is it really a panic attack? How to release tension in record time.
- Free Yourself from Anxiety: A Self Help Guide to Overcoming Anxiety Disorders. by Emma Fletcher and Martha Langley (2009).
- Overcoming Anxiety - A Self-Help Guide .by Helen Kennerley (1997)
1van Dis EAM, van Veen SC, Hagenaars MA, et al. Long-term Outcomes of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety-Related Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Psychiatry. 2020;77(3):265–273. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.3986.View the Experts
Issues for Anxiety Counselling
- death anxiety
- driving anxiety
- fear of public speaking
- generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
- general worry
- high functioning anxiety
- morning anxiety
- night anxiety
- panic attacks
- panic disorder
- performance anxiety
- postpartum anxiety
- PTSD and c-PTSD
- separation anxiety
- sexual performance anxiety
- sleep anxiety
- social anxiety
- trauma and complex trauma.
What are five symptoms of anxiety?
There are certainly more than five. The main thing that differentiates anxiety from simple worry is fear. You will feel fear in your body, and signs of fear, like a racing heart, stomach upset, sweatiness, sleeplessness, and muscle tension. Your thoughts will be fear-based, full of doom and gloom, and increasingly illogic, over based on real possibilities. And even if you solve one problem your mind finds something else to panic about.
What is the main cause of anxiety?
Anxiety tends to become a pattern your brain turns to because of an experience that overwhelmed you. This could have been a recent shock, like a bereavement, loss of a way of life, or very difficult breakup. It more often has its roots in childhood, and an environment where you were neglected, couldn't feel safe, or experienced trauma in. Child abuse leaves many suffering anxiety for the rest of their lives unless they seek support.
Will my anxiety just go away?
Worry can go away if we deal with the issue that is bothering us. Clinical anxiety, on the other hand, is an addictive pattern of negative thinking that doesn't tend to just vanish. We need to face our anxiety, learn coping mechanisms, retrain our thinking, and, ideally, seek professional support and treatments that help.
What medications help with anxiety?
Medication alone will not change your anxiety long-term as it doesn't change root causes, so it is best used in conjunction with talk therapy. The medications you can be offered in the UK for anxiety are SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), and in some cases as a short-term measure in extreme cases benzodiazepine.
What type of counselling is best for anxiety?
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is evidence-based for anxiety and recommended by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Can therapy cure anxiety?
Anxiety can be different for each individual. For some is is severe enough they are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, for others it's just a milder case that never the less is affecting their coping. And it can have different roots. If anxiety is connected to childhood trauma, for example, it can take longer to get under control as it can be habitual way of being. In summary, therapy can go a long way to diminishing your anxiety, but that depends on your unique situation and also how committed you are to the therapeutic journey.