Psychotherapy : Hypnotherapy : Counselling : CBT
Harley Street, London
Specialist Anxiety Therapist UK
Tom Buckland Psychological Services
Anxieties, Fears & Phobias. My specialist area of work.
"Oh the nerves, the nerves; the mysteries of this machine called man!
Oh the little that unhinges it, poor creatures that we are! " Charles Dickens
What Charles Dickens was making comments about all those years ago are still true
today. The machine at times does become unhinged. The mind becomes too busy,
it worries too much and feels fear and panic at times of distress.
We can develop phobias from a single incident, or have been an anxious person or a worrier all our life. Social anxieties stops us going to places or meeting people, death anxiety means we spend all our living time terrified of death. We can have an anxiety attack over dirt or germs, or simply have an underlying anxiety that something is going to go wrong today or maybe tomorrow. All of these and many others stop us enjoying life.
I’ve been working with anxiety for many years and use Emotional Processing Therapy to allow a person to reduce then remove the anxiety or fear. I support you as you talk through how you feel, and then look at solutions with you to overcome and move away from how you use to feel, and move towards being that more confident and anxious free person. I use this approach in both my home clinic and the specialist Harley St Clinic for Anxiety, in London W1 and have helped hundreds of people overcome anxiety, fear and Panic.
Phobias, anxieties, panic attacks and fears all stem from a part of the brain called the amygdala, which is often called the ‘terror centre of the brain’.
When a real, or a perceived danger is recognised by the brain, a fight/flight response is set off to help us overcome that danger. But sometimes, instead of the danger being dispersed in the mind, a template of that danger is kept, and anything like the initial situation will reactivate the template.
With phobias, the feeling of the phobic response is an avoidance response from the mind. The mind says ‘this is a danger, so get out of there’. The feelings are produced to warn you, and get you away from that danger. Unfortunately, the unconscious mind can sometimes react like this to things that aren’t really a danger. This is why I have treated clients who have had phobic responses to cotton wool balls, dogs, cats, cars, felt tip pens and ice cream! The fear is real even if the danger is not.
There are 2 kinds of phobias. One is a direct phobia. This is when you know exactly why you feel like you do. For example, if someone had a car crash and then find they have a phobic response when they get near cars, or someone who has a fear of dogs because they were bitten when they were young.
Indirect phobias are more complex. The person has no idea why they feel the way they do, and there is no real memory of the first time it started. The phobia can also change and develop in other areas of a person’s life, so an original fear of flying develops into a fear of driving as well. Indirect phobias can sometimes take a little longer to cure than direct phobias.
Panic attacks are an extreme form of response, and things like social anxieties which makes a person nervous, blush and sweat when having to meet new people is the same response happening. In fact most anxieties, panic attacks and phobias are very similar in their working process.
Anxieties are a lesser form of panic. The brain is trying to keep us away from a ‘dangerous’ situation (such as having to give a presentation when not feeling confident in doing so) or the anxiety can be more general such as worrying about things in life in general (will I or my children become unwell, will I cope, will I be a good person, will I die young etc) and we may be aware of what makes us feel anxious, or it may be the feeling of worry or anxiety is the only thing we are aware of, and we may not understand what is triggering this feeling.
Thank you so much for our session on Friday!
I went down to the seafront on Saturday morning and walked right along, through the seagulls. I’ve never been able to walk along there before because of my phobia and the relief and excitement that I felt was indescribable.
On Sunday I went to **** Pond and fed the ducks and swans for the first time in my life. It was such an amazing experience for me that I cried with happiness!
I’m off to London tomorrow, so I can test out my lack of fear even more, but just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you. The therapy has changed my life, I just wish I had come to see you sooner!
This was an e mail received from a female client after 1 session of Rewind Therapy. She had been experiencing a very intense Phobia of Birds since she was 4 years old.
Tom is based in Hythe Hampshire, and also central London.
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Being an anxiety therapist, I have found Fears, Phobias and Worries vary from person to person and the type of issue. I use my Anxiety 8 level Model to look at where in the build-up of the anxiety energy the therapy can start breaking the negative cycle of fear. The type of therapy might be;
• Rewind Therapy on a negative past or a future perceived event and help remove a phobia
• Looking at changing your internal dialogue
• Coping strategies to reduce and control the anxiety
• Goal setting to change current circumstances
• Hypnotherapy to calm the mind around a fear or worry
• Mindfulness & Enhanced Guided Imagery to re-frame a fear or anxiety
For some phobias and anxieties, only 1-2 sessions are needed, or others some extra work and sessions will be required. The good thing is fear and anxieties are not ‘fixed’ in the brain, so it’s possible to let it go and feel confident and safe again.
This anxiety is when there is a persistent fear of a social or performance situation where there is a possibly of embarrassment and being put ‘on the spot.’
This is where there is reoccurring and unexpected panic attack which then causes strong anxiety that the panic attacks will happen again.
Posttraumatic stress disorder
This is where a person has experiences an extremely traumatic event which leaves the person after experiencing high levels of anxiety.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder
A person experiencing this will be aware of a constant worry and anxiety which are difficult to control and can sometimes seem there is no obvious trigger for the worry.
This anxiety is triggered by the need to escape and feel safe, and avoidance of any places that or situations where escape may be difficult. At extremes, staying at home where safely is felt becomes the normal behaviour.
OCD is fear based, but can seem from the outside a totally different thing from anxiety. This is often because the behaviours can be extreme, and the fear and anxiety that drives the behaviours (known as safety behaviours as they calm the anxiety) can be hidden from the person experiencing OCD.
The therapy is similar to the type used with someone with a general anxiety, but there are some specific differences to help a person overcome their OCD.
With OCD, it may need a few sessions more therapy than with standard anxiety, but it can be removed from someone's life and leave then with more time and energy in their life as a OCD free person.
When we are worrying, feeling anxious or fearful, it’s our emotional brain that is in control and causing us to feel this way. Its doing a very important job, because its this part of the brain that works to keep us safe. Feeling anxious, scared or worried helps highlight a possible danger to our existence.
This is fine if the ‘danger’ is real, but unfortunately it can sometimes happen when the danger is not so real. For example, walking into a busy shop, touching raw meat, having to check the front door is locked at least 20 times. Although this situations may be dangerous in very rare occasions, in general they’re not something to feel constantly worried and anxious about.
Part of trying to stay calm when you feel anxious, is not only to help you feel more able to cope, but if the emotional mind calms down, the rational part of our mind can then ‘talk’ to it and rationalise the problem (walking into a busy shop etc) so eventually the emotional mind will re-assess the danger, feels safer, and gradually reduces the anxiety it’s producing. This process struggles to work when the emotional mind is highly anxious and the rational mind is unable to communicate with it.
This is why I will talk through different coping strategies you can use to help calm an anxiety attack, which in turn will help the emotional mind switch off the anxiety you feel.
Why Staying Calm is So Important
My own experience of anxiety was a difficult one and one that fluctuated. I suffered with a social anxiety, leaving me afraid to mix with people, try something new, or go into a busy room. I also had other fears which stopped me doing things. A fear of snakes, heights, the sea, public talking, speaking on the phone and generally anything in which I felt ‘on the spot.’
My therapy has allowed me to let go of these anxieties and enjoy some of the things which would have been impossible before. I now love exploring new places, trying new things, kayaking on the ocean and as much of my work is training, standing up in front of people and talking.
My aim is to help you achieve the same wonderful results.