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Anxiety Counseling

Learn why counselors are vital to many who struggle with anxiety

anxiety counseling

It‘s never pleasant to feel distress for any reason, and mental health disorders (see Mental Health Disorders) such as anxiety (see Anxiety) present hurdles that have to be overcome to regain a sense of self, of personal importance, of self-acceptance, and happiness.

But now, more than at any other time in history, the prospect of getting over those hurdles is extremely achievable. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NIMH), today’s treatments for mental illnesses are 70% to 90% effective for reducing symptoms and improving quality of life.

The NIMH also states that early identification is paramount, and getting early treatment reduces the risk of further harm to the brain (see Brain Structure). Recovery is accelerated with early detection and intervention, and the chances of suffering behavioral ramifications significantly reduced.

Anxiety counseling provides the treatment needed for a successful recovery from any of the major anxiety disorders (see Anxiety Disorders), which include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and specific phobias.

One of the major hurdles, however, in pursuing anxiety counseling is stigma. Even though disorders such as anxiety have been proven to be biologically based disorders, society still places socially negative connotations on mental health illnesses. However, untreated anxiety in combination with other mental health disorders costs the U.S. more than 100 billion dollars annually, according to NIMH.

Mental Health Counseling

The organization bases this estimate on the unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, incarceration, suicide, and homelessness that result when individuals refuse to seek counseling.

Therapeutic interventions

When individuals do seek help for anxiety, they most likely seek help from a counselor or therapist. The terms are often used interchangeably. Most professionals treating any of the anxiety disorders employ the same type of interventions, interventions that have been proven effective by scientifically based experiments and studies.

Interventions usually fall within one of two main therapy categories: cognitive behavioral therapy (see Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and evidence-based therapy. Medications for anxiety, such as antidepressants and benzodiazepines can also be prescribed in combination with therapy. (For more information on the treatments and interventions used for anxiety, see Anxiety Treatments.)

In addition to therapy, counselors will also work with clients on overall lifestyle and behavioral changes, changes that aid the therapeutic process. Some of the main areas the counselor will address are nutrition, restful sleep, exercise and physical activity, and social relationships.

If other mental health disorders co-occur with anxiety, such as alcohol or substance abuse (see Mental Health Disorders), the counselor might refer the client for additional counseling or to support groups. And in some cases, partners, spouses, and families get involved in anxiety counseling. This is often necessary to ensure that those living with someone receiving treatment for anxiety understand how to help the individual follow anxiety management plans.

Family members also need to recognize when they need to exercise patience with the individual suffering with anxiety, and when to apply some pressure. Learning about how to live with a family member suffering with anxiety doesn’t necessarily take extensive family sessions, but knowledge about the disorder by all who live with the individual significantly improves the recovery process.

Becoming an anxiety counselor

Titles for counselors and therapists specializing in anxiety include psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, certified clinical mental health counselors, licensed mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, and clinical practitioners, among others.

Licensed mental health counselors treat a large percentage of those suffering with any type of anxiety. If you desire to work as a mental health counselor, you will need at least a master’s degree in mental health counseling or a similarly related psychology degree, and in most areas of the U.S., a state license.

For more information on a career that helps individuals suffering with anxiety and other mental health disorders, contact schools offering degrees in mental health counseling.

Anxiety Facts *

  • Anxiety disorders affect 40 million Americans, making them the most common mental health disorders.
  • The causes of anxiety disorders stem from genetics, personality, life circumstances, and brain chemistry
  • 6.8 million Americans have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • 2.2 million Americans have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • 6 million Americans have Panic Disorder (PD)
  • 7.7 million Americans have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • 15 million Americans have Social Anxiety Disorder
  • 19 million Americans have a Specific Phobia
  • Treatment for anxiety disorder is highly effective yet only about one-third of Americans with an anxiety disorder receive counseling and treatment
  • Anxiety Disorders cost the U.S. more than $42 billion annually

*Compiled from data on the Anxiety Disorders Association of America website, www.adaa.org

Mental Health Counseling Schools & Colleges
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            South University , Glen Allen
            • Began in 1899 as Draughon’s Practical Business College.
            • Features campuses that are heavily engaged in their respective communities, providing professional service from students and faculty.
            • Offers financial aid, scholarships, and counseling for both active and post-duty military students.
            • Has 15 campuses across the United States, as well as 4 art institutes in North Carolina and Texas.
            • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            Regent University prepares students with the knowledge to excel and the faith to live with purpose. Our 20,000 alumni, from more than 110 countries, are changing the world as accomplished professionals. Named a top-15 school nationally for online bachelor's programs (U.S. News & World Report, 2015), Regent is among the most affordable undergraduate Christian colleges (CCCU 2015). Fully accredited, challenging programs are available online and on campus. New classes begin every eight weeks.

            • Online Courses
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            •        Ranked #4 among the 2015 Best Regional Universities in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report.

            •        Designated as 2015 Military Friendly School by U.S. News & World Report.

            •        Student to faculty ratio of 12:1, with an average class size of 21.

            •        85% of faculty holds a doctorate or terminal degree in their field.

            •        Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).

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            Argosy University , Online (campus option available)
            • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
            • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
            • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
            • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
            • Features a competency-based MBA program that allows students to test out of subjects based on prior professional experience.
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            • Online Courses
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            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
            • Currently holds more than 500 professional alliances, including 19 of the top Fortune 100 companies.
            • Courses are taught by expert faculty, with 86% of professors possessing a doctoral degree.
            • Offers credit for prior experience and learning, as well as scholarships, accelerated programs, and several other ways to help reduce tuition costs.
            • Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
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            • Online Courses
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            The Chicago School of Professional Psychology , Online (campus option available)
            • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
            • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year.
            • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities ( beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities. 
            • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
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            University of Phoenix , Online (campus option available)
            • Provides career services that help students find careers that match their interests and map out a personalized career plan.
            • Offers mentorships and networking opportunities through an Alumni Association of 800,000+ graduates.
            • Has flexible start dates and class schedules.
            • Offers special military rates and special advisors who have a military background.
            • Gives students the chance to earn credits for applicable military training and education.
            • Locations nationwide and online options.
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            • Online Courses
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            1 Program(s) Found
            • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
            • Founded in 1885 as one of Minnesota’s first business schools.
            • Features small class-sizes, experienced faculty, and flexible scheduling. 
            • Teaches with a technologically-focused learning model that helps to enhance the student experience.
            • Offers online, on campus, and hybrid classes, with 19 locations across Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
            • Nationally accredited by Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Online school designated as a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
            • Commited more than $60 million in tuition savings in 2015 through scholarships.
            • Active-duty military, veterans, and Veteran’s Administration employees can save 15% on tuition.
            • Offers 24/7 student services, including financial aid help, course registration, and career counseling.
            • Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
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            • Online Courses
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            • Established in 1952 to train practitioners to apply the idea that responsible practitioners must advocate to change the social conditions that affect community health and well-being.
            • Has an Institute on Social Exclusion where students may work on ongoing research, program development, grant writing, and advocacy.
            • Educates culturally-competent clinicians in social justice for gender and sexual minorities at its LQBTQ Mental Health and Inclusion Center.
            • Offers up to 90% off textbook prices at their Chicago campus.
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