Does counseling really work for anxiety/phobias?

This is something that I can't wrap my head around right now. I've had anxiety and this phobia (driving alone, being alone in general, or going places alone or with someone I do not feel comfortable with) for a very long time and so I just feel hopeless that I will ever get better. I try so hard to be positive, I really do, but I feel like I'm just always going to be scared and have to rely on others so much.

I made a phone call to a counselor who specialized in cognitive behavioral therapy yesterday and he was very nice and told me he is very good at what he does and he thinks I can get better. BUT I can not afford his services unfortunately. He can not accept my insurance and he even offered a discount but sadly I just can not afford much of anything lately. So, I am back to just having to deal with this the best I can. 

My thing is, does CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) work? Does counseling really work? Will it help me at all if I am able to start it up? I guess I'm asking if there is anyone who have successfully beat their phobias and anxiety issues with this treatment. I want to be well, I really do. 
  • 19 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • CBT has an amazing track record with help people who suffer from anxiety.
    At the moment, you have a thought and this thought causes a response in your mind.
    It usually is that you're not afraid of the first thought but you're afriad of having the feeling that fear gives you, end up being afriad of the fear.

    CBT helps by maybe not stopping you from feeling the first fear, but by helping you to accept that yes, you may get afriad but don't be scared of being scared, let go, ride through it, you'll come through the other side and realise it wasn't so bad :)

    You can help yourself.
    Next time you're in a situation that is making you feel a bit twitchy, go through all the emotions, don't even try to stop them, just let go. Pay no heed to worrying about trying to avoid feeling anything, just ride through it, feel whatever comes.
    When you get through to the otherside, which you will, that will be the first step in your brain learning not to respond the way it currently is. Each time you go through it you're re-inforcing the right way :) I hope this is some help, please get back to us if you've had a chance to try it and how you got on :)
  • Personally, for me, I think counselling works IF you find the right counsellor for you. I think that it can kind of be like trying to find a relationship that works for you - there will be some people out there that you just don't feel that spark or connection with, but others will get you and you just feel at ease. To me, that's what counselling has been like. I know a lot of people that have benefitted from CBT but it's definitely not a "light switch" being flicked to all your worries being solved - I think it does take time but you see progress gradually :)
  • Counseling has different effects on everybody. Usually it's positive, and CBT is known to have helped many people, but it really depends. Of course there is the factor of money, and if you gel well with your counselor.

    It's really a trial and error situation. But if you don't try in the first place you'll never know. I'd recommend giving counseling a shot, and if you don't like it, or feel like you are not aiding from anything, then quit.

    Best regards!
  • I think in your case it would work great...  since your anxiety is caused by something really specific and is something you can easily be exposed to in small doses.  Actually this kind of therapy is also used to treat OCD. I'd check the guy's credentials first though.  
  • Thank you all for your replies and your suggestions. I have to do something. I really do. I have allowed anxiety to rule my life for a very very long time. I have come to terms with the way I am and that is not good because the way I am is not "normal" per se. 

    I am willing to try this counselor but he is out of my price range unfortunately. I might contact him for a consult anyway though. He will do it via live chat so I can do that I think. Surely a consult is free. Thanks again!
  • I've always heard good things about CBT. Of course it won't work for everyone, but it seems to work for most people. It is unfortunate that some are very expensive. Hopefully, you can find a counselor that your insurance accepts or is more affordable.
  • Whether it works or not would depend on you getting the right person to help with your problem and if you receive the help that is given to you.  If you get the person that does not blend with you it is possible that you will not open up to them.
  • I agree with pat. I do believe that this method probably does help especially when you have already narrowed it down which will probably help the process along even further. Still, there are those who might just be doing it for the money and not necessarily as passion so all they will be able to share is what is on a surface level instead of something deep and researched as someone obsessed with the subject would. If you are looking for something to help in the short term while you aren't able to get professional help then maybe just try looking up some information through articles or maybe you could even find people who are sharing their experiences through writing or videos.
  • I've wondered myself. I've almost tried this a few times but I was too scared to go ahead with it. I chickened out. @Pat How would you know if you get the right person without already paying for it? Money is short right now but I would really like to get counselling. There aren't many options in my area, maybe 2 experts to choose from. 
  • @neko_princess... Unfortunately, you won't be able to tell if you "click" with a counselor until after you've had a session with them. But I think it's a worthwhile investment anyway. It took me until my third therapist before I found the right person for me. So glad I didn't give up after the first or second one. 
  • It has really helped me with the use of medication. If I just used one or the other I do not think that I would have gotten over my issues so quickly. you need to learn how to cope with your anxiety so that is what the therapy is for and the medication just helps to stable you out. 
  • As someone who takes counseling, I think it helps. The meds help more though. You can talk about it all you want, but the meds will change the levels in your brain of the ones that cause anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. They work hand in hand, so don't think counseling doesn't have its merits.
  • Thanks all for your replies. I have not found a counselor that I can afford yet and my insurance simply does not cover counselors. So it is really disappointing to say the least. I'll keep looking though. 
  • There are some free online programs which you can find useful. I know of their existence but having never tried them myself I don't know if they are effective. However if you are interested you could try them and find out for yourself if they can be helpful. As I can't post any links here, all I can do is point you in the right direction.

    In your favorite search engine enter the text: "free cognitive behavior therapy" or "free cognitive behavior therapy online."

    You'll get a number of relevant results but I suggest you start with "MoodGym." You'll see it at the top of the search results.

  • Attitude is sometimes the key to things :).. If you convince yourself that "you CAN get better and you WILL get better , you just need to WORK on it" then your outlook on things will improve
  • Hello!
    It's great to hear that you want to be well, that's already a big step. 
    It's pretty difficult to really know if it's going to work for you, because every person works differently and you can't really know if it's definetly going to make something for you, but I think that it does help, it gives you another perspective about your situation and it can actually make it go away, it's going to be hard but it's definetly possible. Maybe you can look for another therapist that you can afford, give it a try, you got anything to loose.
    Good luck!
  • Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.  A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder defined by a extreme fear of an object or situation. The anxiety disorders are completely treatable and sometime go as you ages. It can be treated naturally and needed no medication and therapy. But in severe conditions counselling is the best solution. There are basically two therapies given to a patient in counselling. Exposure Therapy and Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
    Exposure Therapy: it is a evidence-based psychological treatment focuses on the changing of response towards object and situation you fear. Generally, repeated exposure to your phobia and fear, increases your ability to tolerate or manage it. For example, if you have fear of people, they will talk to you about people, give you pictures of crowded people, get you in the public. So that you can fight your fear and anxiety.
    Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): is a verbal therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave to your problems. it helps you to deal with overwhelming problems. It deals with your present problem instead of your past problems. It is based on the concept of how your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions
    are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you. This helps you to increase your ability to deal with the problem without negative thinking.
    Thus, Counselling is the best way to overcome your anxiety disorder and if you can't afford it, then you have to look for other options like medication and general support. But in worse condition you may need counselling.
  • @alisa202 thank you for sharing such valuable information!
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