Anxiety...do I not have enough faith??? That’s not the issue.
Updated: Mar 13
We have all had someone tell us that "anxiety is a totally normal human emotion that everyone has sometimes...", and while true, what good does that do us when public speaking, meeting new people, experiencing a sudden change in circumstances, and waking up in the middle of the night to not be able to sleep again because your mind is racing? For some of us, anxiety can become overwhelming, interfering with our daily lives and causing significant distress.
For the Christian, we read, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you..." 1 Peter 5:7, but this is often more easily said than done. We like to cast our anxieties on God, and then turn around and pick them right back up--because we anxiously need to feel in control.
Enter counseling--CBT, DBT, and Exposure Therapy
Counseling can be an effective treatment for anxiety. Through a personal connection with a therapist, individuals can learn coping strategies and techniques to manage anxiety symptoms. One of the most commonly used approaches in anxiety counseling is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT helps individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns that contribute to their anxiety. It also teaches individuals skills such as relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and problem-solving to help them manage their anxiety symptoms.
Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is another evidence-based approach to treating anxiety that really focuses on being present in the moment we are in--when we can actually do something about our anxieties. It teaches distress tolerance and emotional regulation skills that help an individual make it through the toughest moments and mindfulness to help a person live a grounded life--not allowing anxiety to run away with us.
Another approach to anxiety counseling is exposure therapy. Exposure therapy involves gradually exposing the individual to the situations or objects that trigger our anxiety in a safe and controlled environment. When paired with CBT and DBT skills to regulate emotions, a person experiences the triggers and does not use their old nail-biting coping strategies but tries the new ones they are learning. Over time, this can help individuals desensitize to their triggers, reducing their anxiety levels when faced with both old and new adversities.
In the life of the person of faith, we often cast our cares on God, and then go right back to them. This side of heaven, it is the best we can do sometimes. It is ok to seek counseling when struggling with anxiety and other personal or mental health issues. We read in Proverbs 20:5 that "Counsel in a man’s heart is deep water; but a man of understanding draws it out...", and sometimes that is exactly what's needed. Someone who understands and can help us build skills and draw out.
Seeking counsel is not a lack of faith but is a way to strengthen it.
It is important to note that counseling is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and what works for one person may not work for another. There are many ways a person can reduce anxiety in their life, and some are easier than others. Some people may require medication in addition to counseling to manage their anxiety. A counselor can work with the individual's primary care physician or psychiatrist to coordinate treatment--and that's ok.
Anxiety counseling can be an effective treatment for individuals who are struggling. It can provide us with the tools and support we need to manage our anxiety symptoms, improve our quality of life, and achieve our goals. It can deepen dependance on God, prayer, and time with other people of the same faith. When we re-frame what is happening with us in the present as what will make us an overcomer in the future, we can overcome even the most crippling anxiety.
If you, or someone you know, are struggling with anxiety, please reach out to The King's Forge Counseling today by filling out a contact form at www.thekingsforge.net