Anxiety Counseling in Columbia, Mo.
Counseling for Anxiety, Trauma and PTSD | Columbia, Missouri | Jennie Lannette Bedsworth, LCSW
Is anxiety stealing your joy?
Do you feel like your anxiety will never get better?
Do you avoid crowds, phone calls, or certain situations because they’re too overwhelming?
Does anxiety take away your happiness even when things seem to be going well?
Do you go to great lengths to avoid certain situations, people, or places?
Often anxiety is fueled by what many call our “inner critics.” Our inner critics are trying to protect us by warning us about all the things that can go wrong, and keeping us from taking risks or trying something new that might be hurtful. It’s also sometimes encouraging us to worry about EVERYTHING, just to make sure we don’t miss something important! The problem is, that this little anxious protector in our head goes too far, keeping us from enjoying the spice of life. Our body can also get involved with the anxiety cycle, and our fight or flight system gets confused, thinking that even safe, happy situations could be harmful to us. Our body becomes tense, and reinforces to itself that even safe situations might be dangerous. This becomes programmed in us, and soon even reminders of situations can make us feel anxious and terrified!
Anxiety Struggles are Human Nature
Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. I (Jennie) describe this with the example of cave people (also used by many others in describing anxiety). In those times, we really needed to be on high alert - after all we could be bitten by a snake or robbed by the group in the neighboring cave. It was really important to worry about the worst-case scenario and to be hypervigilant! If you weren’t hypervigilant, you wouldn’t survive. (Sandra Bullock in Bird Box comes to mind! Unfortunately, if she wasn’t constantly anxious, on alert and hard on her children, they might not have made it in that scenario. And, fortunately for those in relatively safe countries and areas like Columbia, Mo. and Mid-Missouri, we don’t live in those times everyday anymore.)
Humans evolved relatively quickly from those cave days to the society we have today, and for most of us in the Western world, we no longer need to feel anxious all the time. However, our brains don’t know that yet! So instead of getting triggered by a snake (which can also happen), we get high anxiety when our boss criticizes our work, or when our partner questions us about something, or our finances are getting tight.
We also often have a common theme from those inner critics, telling us negative things about ourselves. It could be along the lines of, “You’re not good enough,” “You’re not lovable,” “You’re going to fail,” or “You’re not worthy.” These are also common thoughts and core beliefs among humans in many cultures.
A low level of anxiety is normal, and when it gets a bit too strong and starts to interfere with our daily lives, then there are things that can help. The benefit of that pesky evolution is that we have a fairly good (at least much better) understanding of how our bodies work, and we definitely know now what therapies are the most effective.
When anxiety starts to interfere with functioning, we can often benefit from anxiety treatment to help address core fears. The anxiety therapy I provide includes modern techniques of mindfulness and grounding, combined with proven methods from the most effective cognitive (talk) therapies. I also incorporate awareness of your body and emotions, which is really helpful when healing anxiety.
Anxiety Counseling Really Can Work and Help you Find your Joy again (Or For The First Time)
In anxiety therapy, I will get to know you and your unique struggles. We’ll get a good idea of what’s going on, and decide together the best way forward. Often, I suggest starting with some mindfulness techniques to address the immediate physical symptoms of anxiety like shakiness, sweating, knots and butterflies in the stomach, and weight on the chest. This can involve grounding exercises, relaxed breathing, or can be quite creative to tailor to your needs and personality (what relaxes anxiety can be different for everyone). Sometimes we use what I call “extreme grounding,” which can work when nothing else has! We’ll figure out what works best for you and your anxiety.
After that, we often look at those core beliefs that are leading to anxious thoughts. This can involve those negative critics, which are empowered and fueled by deeper issues and beliefs. Fortunately, beliefs can be challenged and healed! Many of my clients find they are being nicer to themselves over time.
I don’t like knowing that you are experiencing high anxiety that’s interfering with your life. You have a life purpose, and you are meant to experience joy. I’d like to help you get that back.
Do You Have Doubts About Anxiety Treatment?
It's normal to feel unsure if anxiety counseling will work for you. After all, that's your brain protecting your wellbeing! Some of my clients have had little to no experience with therapy. Others have tried therapy for many, many years, and it didn't really work. That's because many counselors in the Columbia, Mo., area and elsewhere are generalists rather than specialists. I (Jennie) specialize specifically in the most advanced treatments for anxiety disorders, and this is 90% of what I do. I've helped many people with lots of uncertainty and questions. Here are some common ones:
Does this counseling for anxiety really work?
There’s lots of research (and experience of my own clients) that shows that anxiety therapy gets better with the most effective therapeutic treatments. While other options like medication can work in the short-term, anxiety counseling actually treats the cause, and gives you tools and knowledge that can help you and others for the rest of your life.
What if I’m too anxious to come to therapy?
This is a really common concern! After all, you're meeting a stranger to talk about your most personal problems. I know it can be really hard to even make the first contact to ask about counseling services. I am happy to meet you where you are. Some people prefer to e-mail or text without talking on the phone (which you may be surprised to hear is a really, really common anxiety people have!) We can also schedule a short phone call (if you do not mind those), or meet briefly for the first time. I offer a no-obligation, free first consultation. You can also feel free to ask me as many questions as you want before you decide to come in. I encourage questions!
What does therapy cost?
Here's a page all about fees and cost of therapy. There I discuss fees for sessions, using your out-of-network benefits and the value of services.
Private anxiety counseling in Columbia, Mo. and via telehealth
I have a very private, discreet corner office downtown, near the Uprise Bakery/Ragtag area (in fact, across the street in downtown Columbia, Mo.). I am careful and respectful of your privacy and boundaries when it comes to therapy for anxiety and related issues. I also offer video counseling for those in other parts of Missouri, or for in-person clients when you're unable to make it to the office.
What others have to say about Jennie:
"Jennie has an amazing way of listening. she has helped me feel more confident, and given me better ways to handle my anxiety. I love the way she looks at the world. Her creativity, friendliness and knowledge are amazing! Very professional!"
- Ericca T.
"Jennie is a very compassionate therapist that is very attentive to her clients. she has a calming spirit that puts even the most anxious person at ease."
Are You Ready for the Next Step?
I’d Like to Help You Feel Joy Again.
If you’d like to learn more and feel anxiety treatment is right for you, the next step is to contact me. I try to make that as easy as possible. You can e-mail me, use the form found throughout my website (including the front page), call me at 573/291-7315, message, or text. I’m always happy to hear from you! I know anxiety treatment works because I've watched it over and over. Clients often begin feeling like nothing will work. Within a few months or sometimes much less, they are feeling free, joyful about the world, and ready to start on new adventures. Let’s reclaim your life for yourself.