Anxiety Treatment In Houston
The Mental and Physical Impact of Anxiety
Anxiety is a condition that can make you feel unease, fear and worry (often accompanied with bouts of depression). When it’s persistently making an appearance in your life, it can greatly affect the way you live. Although it’s often categorized as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, it’s not always that simple. Affecting approximately 40 million United States residents (as well as millions of people across the world), it’s one of the most prevalent conditions.
Not only does anxiety affect you mentally, but it can also affect you physically. Feeling as though you have a weight on your body, it can lead to you avoiding situations that make you feel nervous and stressed. By missing out on key life events, you could feel shut off from the world.
Here at Heights Harm Reduction in Houston, it’s our aim to help you with your anxiety. Assisting you by finding the best coping mechanism for you and the most suitable treatment, our expertise in Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) will give you the guidance that you need.
What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a branch of behavior analysis and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Created by American clinical psychologist Steven Hayes in 1982, it’s now practiced in millions of treatment clinics throughout the world. As well as standing for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, the acronym is also often referred to as:
- Accept your reactions to experiences and be present in the moment.
- Choose a direction that will follow your values.
- Take suitable actions.
Acceptance-based, it uses mindfulness strategies combined with behavior-change and commitment strategies in order to increase the patient’s psychological flexibility. Based on an empirical scale, it requires the knowledge and experience of a qualified psychologist – which is where psychologist Dr. Kelli Wright and her practice Heights Harm Reduction comes in.
Psychological flexibility is “the ability to contact the present moment more fully as a conscious human being, and to either change or persist when doing so serves valued ends”. To put that simply, when you have psychological flexibility. You are able to adapt to different environments well – without the unease and fear that can occur with anxiety.
Unlike other behavioral therapies, ACT connects directly with the individual, helping to find the best methods in order to discover what the root of your anxiety is. There are six key steps within ACT – of course, these will differ per patient, but it’s always good to see an outline so that you are prepared:
During this stage, Dr. Wright will help you to look back over your past. From reliving these experiences, we can underpin exactly what is causing you anxiety in your everyday life. Done in a sensitive way that won’t change their form or cause you negative emotions, this step works as a method of increasing actions that are value-based.
An important start to the healing process, this step can help you to feel empowered by taking control of the sources of pain. Honing into what you want to achieve, it’s a way of committing to the change in behavior so that you’re no longer trapped in the inner battle that you’re having with yourself.
Leveraging proven strategies, we want you to reach the outcome you want by establishing the right direction to take. Working closely with you, we will use ACT to help decrease your levels of anxiety. As well as helping to lower your anxiety levels, the therapy can help you feel like yourself again – ready to approach situations that you were once not confident in.
2) Defusion Techniques
The second stage of ACT, is learning how to efficiently cognitively defuse experiences that heighten your psychological functions. Realizing exactly what the feelings and thoughts are, the goal of this step is to make these past experiences more manageable within your mind and create useful contexts.
3) Present Moment
ACT will promote the importance of being present. What does this mean? Well to put it simply, it uses non-judgmental contact within both environmental and psychological events the moment they occur. Resulting in you feeling as though you can experience the world and events more flexibly, your overall values will become more prevalent. Without judging or predicting past or present events, simple language is used to describe them.
During this step, you will discover your sense of self by stepping outside of your mind to see your experiences from an outside perspective. Separating yourself, it’s a key part of the process that works with defusion and acceptance to allow a successful continuity of consciousness.
During the therapy, your psychologist will help you to identify your personal values. Discovering exactly what is important to you, ACT will utilize a variety of personalized exercises that help you to choose the direction that suits you – e.g by identifying the career you want in the future. Identifying the process that could create a roadblock to your goal, this step alongside the others on this list aim at creating a clearer path for you so that you can underpin exactly what your future holds.
6) Take Action
The final step of ACT is to take action. Without doing so, you will find that you might fall back into the same destructive pattern that you were in before seeking therapy. So by promoting the need to commit to action, you will realize the impact of moving towards the values and goals that you want to achieve.
We want you to accept the sources of your anxiety and formulate the correct strategies to use that will benefit you in the future. Creating a plan that’s based around you individually, it’s a step in development that’s far more concrete than the previous step. Within the plan, we will also help you to identify the short, medium and long-term changes and goals that you can make to your behavior. These changes will assist by allowing you to break down the psychological barriers that have arisen over the years.
Are There Any Other Conditions That ACT Can Help With?
Although ACT is used to treat anxiety, it can also help with other conditions:
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
ACT can also be used for patients that have OCD by helping them to openly experience their feelings and thoughts in a way that’s not overbearing. Aimed at reducing the worries and obsession they are feeling towards certain things, similarly to helping with anxiety, it helps patients to set future goals and values.
Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
A study found that out of 981 veterans that received ACT 66% “demonstrated decreased depression severity” after completing the therapy. Helping by increasing their mindfulness, the positive outcome shows how it can be used to treat these conditions.
Another key condition that ACT can assist with is eating disorders. Helping patients to deal with issues they have with their body issue, how to underpin any negative thoughts they are having and how to adopt suitable self-care behavior, it can prove to be a vital step towards recovery.
Of course, these aren’t all of the conditions that ACT can assist with. To find out if ACT is the right path for you, get in contact with Heights Harm Reduction today.
At Heights Harm Reduction in Houston, we want you to find your balance again, rediscover your meaning and take action through ACT treatment. By finding your balance, you will be able to efficiently and suitably accept the sources of your anxiety, allowing you to live each day more mindfully.
In terms of rediscovering your meaning, you will be able to identify the steps in which you should take – e.g by taking up yoga or meditation to assist with rediscovering the meaning behind your values. Resetting and starting each day refreshed, you will be able to deal with situations easier. No matter what step you take, your therapist will be alongside you every step of the day to help give you the support that you need.
And thirdly, by taking action, you will stop procrastinating and start on the path to recovery. Often, many people will put off things saying that they will do it tomorrow. But this mindset is not helpful when it comes to treatment and recovery. You need to open the door to your future without being stuck in the same cycle. Building up and up, by delaying action, you could find yourself becoming overwhelmed.
This is why ACT is so useful and why it is practiced by more psychologists every year. In order to help you to break out of your old behavior and taking a step forward, the therapy is equipped with the most vital tools that you need to succeed.
Overall, each of the six core steps supports each other to target the issue and help you to overcome it. Providing you with a workable process, from acceptance to commitment, you are targeting your psychological flexibility for the better.
Contact Us Today
Here at Heights Harm Reduction, we specialize in ACT therapy for anxiety as well as Integrative Harm Reduction therapy for substance users that find themselves out of control. Do you want to find out more about ACT and how Heights Harm Reduction can help with your anxiety? Get in contact with us today at (713) 249-5838 or through our contact page. Or in the meantime, checkout our 5 Tips to cope with anxiety and homepage. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you on your journey to recovery!