Why Therapy Isn’t Enough to Heal Anxiety
Therapy can be useful in helping you understand your anxiety, but very often isn’t enough to heal the roots of anxiety.
And this is because in order to truly heal anxiety, mind, body, and spirit all have to be involved.
Unfortunately, most conventional treatments fall short of taking the holistic approach that is needed if you want to heal at the deepest level.
Let’s say you decide to get help for your anxiety, what’s the first thing you do?
You probably go to talk therapy, right?
When you’re there, you might gain more clarity about how your father’s erratic behavior lead to you to feel anxious in relationships.
This understanding might help you feel better about your feelings, and not take them quite so seriously.
But you still feel anxious, sometimes overwhelmingly so.
The next step, if you’re lucky, is that your therapist will guide you out of your head and into your body, so you can learn how to process that experience in the emotional realm.
This skill is essential when it comes to healing anxiety, but for some reason many therapists don’t teach their patients how to do it.
Feelings are called feelings because you feel them in your body, so you can’t just talk about your feelings and expect to heal.
You have to focus on the actual feelings, not just the thoughts associated with those feelings.
But talk therapy often falls short when it comes to bringing awareness into the the feelings in the body.
Even if your therapist knows to guide your awareness into your body, many therapists don’t know what to do next.
Feelings need to be expressed (from Latin: “pressed out”) physically in order to be released.
If you’re really lucky, your therapist will have training in trauma release techniques, trauma-informed yoga, and/or qigong.
Through these practices, your therapist can help you recognize the movements that want to happen in your body that will allow those emotions to transform.
This is more important than you can imagine.
Because anxiety isn’t just a bunch of thoughts circulating in your head, it happens on a neurological level.
Anxiety begins to manifest when you find yourself in a stressful situation that you can’t escape.
Whenever this happens, a pattern of alarm gets stored in your nervous system.
And anytime you encounter a similar situation in the future, that alarm gets activated again, even if you’re safe.
You remember the past, feel the trauma pattern stored in your nervous system, and then project your remembered experience into an unknown future.
A feeling of dissonance arises when you are safe but your body is telling you that you’re in danger.
Your mind ends up desperately grasping for a way out of the situation, but because you’re actually safe and the feelings you’re feeling are from the past, there are no solutions to be found.
This is anxiety.
In order to heal anxiety, your body has to relearn how to feel safe.
And in order to feel safe, you have to learn to transform that pattern of alarm that’s stored in your nervous system.
A well-trained, trauma-informed therapist can help you do this, but talk therapy alone isn’t going to get you there.
Then again, you might find yourself in the office of a cognitive-behavioral therapist, which is the current front-runner in anxiety treatment.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be extremely helpful, because it helps you recognize and change the patterns of thinking and belief that activate your anxiety.
And with the help of your therapist, you can safely expose yourself to situations in which your anxiety is activated in order to practice a new response.
But even when your therapist is excellent at what they do, it’s highly unlikely that they will know how to help you with your gut health, nutrition, sleep hygiene, appropriate movement and exercise, hormones, and other physiological imbalances that can play a major role in activating anxiety and making it worse.
It’s even more unlikely that you find a therapist who is spiritually developed enough to be able to support you in your own spiritual awakening.
And spiritual awakening is where anxiety is ultimately leading you.
The reason you feel anxious isn’t what your mind is telling you.
It isn’t because you’re afraid of committing to the wrong partner, failing a math exam, having an accident, or saying the wrong thing at a party.
You feel anxious because you’re disconnected from who you really are and have instead gotten lost in life’s drama.
And the drama can be scary!
So the most effective therapy will help you realize that the drama doesn’t define you.
You’ll come to see that you are not your thoughts but the observer of them, and that there is an ever present realm of peace beyond all of your fears.
The ideal therapist (or holistic practitioner) will have personal experience tapping into this Greater Truth.
And personal experience will have shifted this practitioner’s perspective and understanding enough that they are able to guide you from— and toward— the peace beyond the drama.
Some might argue this isn’t within the scope of practice for therapy.
But if the goal of therapy is to facilitate positive, lasting change, then it has to be able to guide you to recognize that which is ever-present and unchangeable.
And that means moving beyond the mind, and even the body.
You can call it whatever you want, God, Allah, Spirit, the Universe, Energy, Qi, Prana, Love, or the Cookie Monster.
The name doesn’t matter.
It is the effect of experiencing this unifying force for yourself, viscerally and beyond mental interpretation, that leads to the deepest and most lasting healing.
Everything else is just on the surface.
To be clear, this doesn’t mean you’ll never feel anxious again.
But when you learn to heal through mind, body, and spirit, all challenges become opportunities for growth.
You learn to observe your reactions, transform your emotions, and know that you’re okay, even when the world feels like it’s crumbling around you.
And that’s what life is all about.
Want to experience this inner peace for yourself?
Then click here to download your (free) Bliss Kit and learn 4 life-changing strategies to transform stress & anxiety.
I can’t wait to see where it takes you!