In order to help people understand the basis of their anxiety, it is important to make sense of the role that control plays the cycle of fear and worry. When people are trying to understand why they contend with worrying about specific things or situations, or why they worry about most things in general, the overall theme is control. When people worry or are fearful, they recognize that there is a certain level of control that is missing. This creates a cycle of anxiety for many people, which they do not know how to break. In order to overcome an anxiety disorder, a person has to learn to give up some of this control and learn how to be comfortable with this. Therapy can help people through this process, which can help them gain control of how they feel.

Anxiety and control usually co-exist. When a person is worried about events that might take place the following day, they are battling with the idea of not being able to predict the future. This person might go through several scenarios over and over again in order to know how to deal with future problems. Whether or not they take place becomes forgotten on a sea of worry. Planning is important and usually helpful, but obsessing does not help any situation, nor does losing sleep in an attempt to predict an unpredictable future.

Some people will avoid situations altogether to avoid a painful or traumatic memory. They might also avoid these situations so that they do not have to face a fear. When people are fearful to this extent, they avoid these circumstances because their thinking tells them that the feared event will happen to them if they are in the feared situation. Avoidance seemingly becomes the only way to control this.

Other people avoid social situations because of the anxiety of being around other people. In these situations, people are worried about what others think about them. Because there is no way to tell, they stay away from this altogether. Therefore, there is nothing to fear, but a lack of love and belonging can then persist.

Therapy for anxiety can help people deal with these issues. Most people who have an anxiety problem know that they live with this, but do not know where to turn. Psychotherapy can help a person learn some therapeutic strategies to deal with feeling a lack of control. It can also help to combat maladaptive habits that have taken place to ease anxious feelings.

One strategy in a therapy setting is to help people understand their thoughts and how these lead to anxious feelings. Therapy assists clients in learning about triggers in their thoughts that create worry and fear. They are then taught ways to counteract these triggers. When these individuals understand how thoughts lead to feelings, they are better able to control their feelings using such a technique.

Another strategy that is used while in therapy is an evidence-based trial-and-error technique. In this technique, clients are encouraged to use their new rational thinking abilities to build up enough courage to enter into avoided or even feared situations (that are deemed safe by the therapist and client). The clients are then asked to return to their next session with a list of thoughts about how this event took place. They talk about whether or not their predictions played out how they imagined that they would. They are asked what thought triggers they dealt with. Then the information is used to help in future situations of a similar nature.

Some clients are too fearful to enter into feared situations. In these scenarios, clients are walked through the fear while in a session. They will talk about entering into the situation to desensitize the fear to a point at which they are able to enter into the feared circumstance. The overall goal is to prove that they can safely go through this situation without the predicted, negative event having taken place.

Thousands of people live their lives with anxiety each day. Some of these people get through their lives without many obvious issues, while others have severe problems to contend with. Either way, these individuals could likely benefit from seeking out the help of a therapist. This can help by providing evidence to the contrary of the thoughts and fears associated with their anxiety. It can also help them learn which thoughts specifically lead to anxiety and what to do with such thoughts. Rather than worrying and obsessing to give themselves a false sense of control, clients are able to walk away empowered to feel how they want to feel.

Author's Bio: 

Michael J. Salas is a Dallas Counselor and Therapist in Dallas, Texas. He provides counseling and therapy for anxiety, depression, and relationship issues. Michael primarily utilizes cognitive-behavioral therapy and solution-focused brief therapy treatment models.