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What Is Anxiety Therapy? A Quick Introduction

Updated: Aug 18

Are you thinking about checking out anxiety therapy in the Bay Area? Here's what you need to know about these services.



Anxiety Therapy, Bay Area therapy  94566, 95139, 00907, 94506.
Anxiety Therapy in Bay Area

Approximately 19% of people in the United States (18 and over) struggle with some form of anxiety disorder. That's almost a fifth of all American adults!

That said, if you have an anxiety disorder or think are dealing with anxiety, you’re in good company. In this article, we’ll talk about anxiety disorders, the different symptoms there are, what kind of therapy can help, and where you can get anxiety therapy in Bay Area.

If you’re ready to stop letting your thoughts have so much power over you, read our guide on how to manage anxiety, below.


What is Anxiety Exactly?


In mental health and psychiatry, we base definitions of any mental illness on the DSM-5, or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is the most diagnosed anxiety-related mental illness. The DSM-5 defines GAD as “Excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation), occurring more days than not for at least 6 months, about a number of events or activities (such as work or school performance).”

There are different levels of intensity for Generalized Anxiety Disorder, though not everyone with stress and anxiety meets the threshold for diagnosis. Even if you don’t think the definition above applies to you, you could still benefit from anxiety therapy in Bay Area.

GAD is not the only anxiety disorder listed in the DSM-5. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder) are all anxiety-related illnesses.

It’s worth noting that anxiety can and does peak during stressful times in life, or when someone experiences large changes. Getting diagnosed with an anxiety disorder once does not mean you’ll struggle the same way forever.


Signs of an Anxiety Disorder


One of the most common things my patients ask me is, “how do I know if it’s just stress or if it’s actually anxiety?” There isn’t one concrete answer for everyone, but if your anxiety symptoms are diminishing your quality of life (in any way), it’s worth seeing a therapist.

Each patient presents with different symptoms, but here are some of the most common signs of generalized anxiety disorder:

  • Worrying is out of control and causing extra stress

  • Worrying affects your day-to-day activities, including job, school, or social performance

  • Nothing you’ve tried is working to reduce your worrying

  • You’re feeling restless or on edge, making you irritable

  • You’re always tired

  • You have difficulty focusing

Many people who have anxiety disorders find that they worry about otherwise small things. Excessive guilt is not a listed symptom of GAD, according to the National Health Service, but it’s common nonetheless.


Bay Area Therapy, Anxiety Therapy, 94566, 95139, 94506, 00907
Bay Area therapy services for anxiety

What Is Anxiety Therapy in the Bay Area Like?


In this section, we’ll discuss common anxiety treatment options, and then what I use personally to help my clients.

There are three main avenues mental health professionals use to treat anxiety symptoms:

  • Therapy

  • Medication

  • A combination of both.

Since not everyone can or wants to take medication, therapy is the most universal solution for working through anxiety-based issues. Different therapists use different techniques to help their patients reduce symptoms, including

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

  • Mindfulness practices

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

  • Somatic therapy

  • and others.

Each of these therapies has its strengths, but I mostly use CBT, ACT, and mindfulness-based therapy with my clients.

If you decide that medication may benefit you, most anti-anxiety medications are either SSRIs or Benzodiazepines. Therapists or psychologists can’t prescribe medication, though we can give you a diagnosis to present to your general practitioner or psychiatric specialist.


What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?


Have you seen those TikTok videos that encourage you to use an ice cube on your pulse points to reduce anxiety symptoms? That’s a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy strategy!

CBT aims to give patients name-able tools they can use to minimize anxiety symptoms in their life. This method includes worksheets, acronyms, and physical tools (like the ice) that many patients find helpful in treating their anxiety.


What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?


ACT was born from CBT and traditional (talk) therapy. It suggests that our anxiety is a reaction to things that are happening in our environment and that we don’t need to get rid of these thoughts or feelings, but rather learn how to make them more manageable so we can live a values-driven life.

We want to accept that our brain is using anxiety to try to protect us, then use mindfulness techniques and personal values to take actions towards reducing the strengths or intensity of these reactions (anxiety symptoms).

Don’t worry if that sounds confusing, it’s something we can discuss in session. These two therapies are my specialities, but I personalize the sessions and treatment plan for each of my clients to best meet their needs.



Anxiety Therapy, Bay Area Therapy, 94566, 95139, 00907, 94506


What Will My First Session Look Like With Kristin Papa, LCSW?


Because of COVID-19 and to increased accessibility and convenience, all therapy sessions are held online, in a secure and confidential platform. All clients get a free phone consultation where we can discuss your concerns and feel if we are a good clinical fit.

If after your phone consultation we decide to work together, then you will fill out some paperwork (online), and we’ll schedule our first session together. In this session I will get to know you further, we’ll discuss and establish treatment goals, and start the anxiety management therapy process.

If you have any other questions, you can refer to my anxiety treatment FAQ page.


Getting Anxiety Therapy: You Can Get Your Life Back!


Having anxiety is exhausting. Not only do you have to do all the normal tasks in your day, but now you have a constantly racing and worrying brain to keep up with as well.

You don’t have to live like this much longer! Getting mental health treatment is one of the best things you can do for yourself, and the results positively affect the people around you, too.

If you’re interested in anxiety therapy in Bay Area or Puerto Rico, book our consultation call for free today!


***The ideas, concepts, and opinions expressed in all Living Openhearted posts are intended to be used for educational purposes only. The author and publisher are not rendering medical advice of any kind, nor are intended to replace medical advice, nor to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, condition, illness, or injury. Authors and publisher claim no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or damage as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material.


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