Specializing in therapy for anxiety, anger management, depression, relationships and substance abuse.

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Teaching you the solutions to be your own self-help counselor for life.

 
Anxiety Counseling

My anxiety counseling gives you tools to overcome your anxiety disorder in weeks -- not months or years -- while becoming your own anxiety counselor when you need it. Anxiety Disorders can be minimized and often eliminated, without the help of anxiety drugs.

I have helped literally thousands of people in the Tampa Bay area overcome the agony and strain of anxiety disorders via counseling methods that are both easy to put into practice right away, and for the long-term. There truly is hope, I can help you how to get out from under the paralyzing effects of anxiety.

If you've ever had a panic attack, then wow, you know those overwhelming feelings. The sweats, the dizziness, the nausea, just to name a few. You feel like there's nothing you can do and no one can help. But have you ever experienced the feeling of being able to talk yourself out of an anxiety attack?  Or being able to feel the signs of an anxiety attack coming on and being able to fend it off before it happens?  All without the use of drugs?

That feeling is one of near-joy, and near-joy is not something an anxiety sufferer knows very well or very often, but it can be done, it's done by people every day, people right here in Tampa Bay, and if you have an anxiety disorder, don't worry... you can do it too.

Upon completing my anxiety counseling program you will:

 

Learn how to control your anxiety 

See an anxiety attack coming, and prevent it 

Discover the 4 words to avoid to stop anxiety in its tracks 

Find out what anxiety actually is and where it comes from 

Be able to keep anxiety at bay without the use of medications 

Know how and why depression may sometimes accompany anxiety 

Anxiety or stress? How to know the difference in a simple 2 step process 

The 3 key differences between anxiety and nervousness (and why you should know) 

Know differences between Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), Panic Disorder, phobias, fear & worry

 

My techniques are simple to learn, and in fact many people find them refreshing and enjoyable.   

The counseling is not long-term. Years of therapy is a waste of your time and money.  Many people find the help they need for their anxiety after just a few sessions.  One thing is for certain: I can help you with your anxiety.  I have specific training in the area of anxiety and am highly qualified to show you how to overcome yours.

Whether you've had problems with anxiety for weeks, months, or years, I can help you get through it now and map out a plan to keep it away forever.

Anxiety FAQ's

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

 

The symptoms of anxiety, sometimes severe, may include:

Hyperventilation
Dizziness
Cold sweats
Disorientation
Chest tightness
Muscle fatigue
Sleep problems
Nausea
Stomach discomfort or diarrhea
Cold, clammy hands
Difficulty swallowing
Jumpiness
Cold, clammy hands
Sweating 

Is anxiety curable? 

Yes.  No one has to live with anxiety.  Either with therapy, or a combination of therapy and prescription medication, anxiety can be rendered nil in most people. According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, the best treatment for anxiety disorders is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  

Many people who suffer from an anxiety disorder do not receive treatment. This may be for financial reasons, or because they do not know where to get help, or they do not realize what the problem is.

Anxiety disorders may develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older (18.1% of U.S. population). Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering from an anxiety disorder receive treatment.

Through an interactive approach, I show you how to overcome your anxiety by identifying triggers for your anxiety and changing your 'self-talk' so that the symptoms recede and eventually subside.

Can I get over anxiety without the use of prescription drugs?

Absolutely. While everyone is different, psychotherapy can have wondrous effects for those suffering from anxiety disorders, including GAD, SAD, panic disorder, and phobias.  Counseling is simply an educational process. I'm the teacher, you are the student.  The sessions are like 'going to class' (except with no tardy bell, no mean principal or dean, no bad lunches, and no math.)

As long as you 'come to class,' pay attention to the teacher, and do what little bit of homework that I give you, you'll learn the methods to overcome a panic attack, the feelings of being anxious all time, phobias and fears.  All without the use of anti-anxiety medications.

I hear that there are different types of anxiety. Do you treat some or all?

There are 5 basic types of anxiety:

Specific phobias
Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Panic Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

 

I am highly trained and experienced in counseling for all of the above. While each has its own distinct set of symptoms, the root causes are very similar. We use a particular form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) called Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). REBT is renowned around the globe as possibly the most effective form of psychotherapy for anxiety disorders.

The treatment is interactive, you take part, I teach you step-by-step how to overcome not only your symptoms, but also the cause of your anxiety. I show you how you can overcome your symptoms before they take over.  Upon completion of your therapy, your fully prepared to then be your own self-help counselor for life.  But I'm always here if you need a refresher.

Can you help with phobias? Are phobias related to anxiety?

Yes I can, and yes they are.  Phobias are anxiety in disguise.  I am well versed in all types of anxiety counseling, and have helped many, many people over the years overcome their phobias.

Are stress and anxiety really just the same thing?

Sometimes similar, but they are not the same thing. Stress is a danger alert that goes off in your head. The number of bells, sirens, and flashing lights – the intensity of the alert – depends upon how you perceive the pressure (the stressor.)  The stronger you see the pressure to be, the higher the alert.

Anxiety is a step beyond stress.  It is when the perceptions of future things in your life become overwhelming.  Anxiety is when you blow past the symptoms of stress and straight to the overwhelming feelings of anxiety. That's why it's important to have a professional evaluate your situation and make recommendations as to how you can feel better and improve your life, whether it be stress or anxiety that is the culprit.

What are the different types of anxiety disorders? What's the difference between GAD, SAD and others?

According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (AADA) anxiety disorders are categorized as follows: 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive, unrealistic worry that lasts six months or more; the anxiety may focus on issues such as health, money, or career. In addition to chronic worry, GAD symptoms include trembling, muscular aches, insomnia, abdominal upsets, dizziness, and irritability. 

 

Panic Disorder: People with panic disorder suffer severe attacks of panic, which may make them feel as if they are having a heart attack or can't breathe, for no apparent reason. Symptoms include heart palpitations, chest pain or discomfort, sweating, trembling, tingling sensations, feeling of choking, fear of dying, fear of losing control, and feelings of unreality. 

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Post-traumatic stress disorder can follow an exposure to a traumatic event such as a sexual or physical assault, witnessing a death, the unexpected death of a loved one, or natural disaster. Three main symptoms are associated with PTSD: 'reliving' of the traumatic event through flashbacks or nightmares: avoidance behaviors (avoiding places related to the trauma) - emotional numbing (detachment from others) and physiological arousal such difficulty sleeping, irritability, or poor concentration.

Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia): Social anxiety disorder is also called Social Phobia. It is characterized by extreme anxiety about being judged by others or behaving in a way that might cause embarrassment or ridicule. This intense anxiety may lead to avoidance behavior. Physical symptoms associated with this disorder include heart palpitations, faintness, blushing, and profuse sweating.

Specific Phobias: People with specific phobias suffer from an intense fear reaction to a specific object or situation (examples: spiders, dogs, heights). The level of fear is usually inappropriate to the situation and it is recognized by the sufferer as being irrational. This inordinate fear can lead to the avoidance of common, everyday situations.

Is it possible to have both depression AND anxiety?

Yes it is. In fact, it's not all that uncommon for someone to suffer from depression and an anxiety disorder.  I see this fairly often and have a comprehensive counseling plan of action when it's the case. 

Nearly one-half of those diagnosed with major depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. The good news is that these disorders are both treatable, separately and together.

Three main types of depressive disorders—major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disorder—can occur with any of the anxiety disorders.

Often depression and an anxiety disorder can be treated the same way. In many cases, therapy can be tailored to an individual so that it works to reduce the symptoms of both disorders. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (which works to replace negative and unproductive thought patterns with positive ones) is often effectively used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. Other therapies are targeted to specific anxiety disorders that may not apply to depression.

 

Will I have to keep coming back for months or even years?

Not likely. While there are some people who may need to continue counseling for a few months, many others find the relief they need in as little as 4 weeks. It depends, somewhat, on what you are seeking counseling for, how good of a job I do, and how receptive you are, as well as willing to put the needed extra time into what I teach you.

What is a panic attack?

A panic attack is defined as the abrupt onset of an episode of intense fear or discomfort, which peaks in approximately 10 minutes, and includes at least four of the following symptoms:

a feeling of imminent danger or doom

the need to escape

palpitations 

sweating 

trembling 

shortness of breath or a smothering feeling 

a feeling of choking 

chest pain or discomfort 

nausea or abdominal discomfort 

dizziness or lightheadedness 

a sense of things being unreal, depersonalization 

a fear of losing control or "going crazy" 

a fear of dying 

tingling sensations 

chills or hot flushes

There are three types of panic attacks:


Unexpected  - The attack 'comes out of the blue' without warning and for no discernible reason

Situational - situations in which an individual always has an attack, for example, upon entering a tunnel

Situationally predisposed - situations in which an individual is likely to have a panic attack, but does not always have one. An example of this would be an individual who sometimes has attacks while driving.

Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder is diagnosed when an individual suffers at least two unexpected panic attacks, followed by at least 1 month of concern over having another attack. Sufferers are also prone to situationally predisposed attacks. The frequency and severity of the attacks varies from person to person, an individual might suffer from repeated attacks for weeks, while another will have short bursts of very severe attacks. 

The sufferer often worries about the physical and emotional consequences of the panic attacks. Many become convinced that the attacks indicate an undiagnosed illness and will submit to frequent medical tests. Even after tests come back negative, a person with Panic Disorder will remain worried that they have a physical illness. Some individuals will change their behavioral patterns, avoiding the scene of a previous attack for example, in the hopes of preventing having another attack.

 

Agoraphobia  

                                           

Agoraphobia often, but not always, coincides with Panic Disorder. Agoraphobia is characterized by a fear of having a panic attack in a place from which escape is difficult. Many sufferers refuse to leave their homes, often for years at a time. Others develop a fixed route, or territory, from which they cannot deviate, for example the route between home and work. It becomes impossible for these people to travel beyond what they consider to be their safety zones without suffering severe anxiety.

The age of onset of Panic Disorder varies from late adolescence to mid-thirties. Relatively few suffer from the disorder in childhood.
 

From the Anxiety Disorder Association of America

Can you stop my panic attacks?

Absolutely. While I can't guarantee you that your panic attacks will stop, the overwhelming majority of those seeking my help with their panic attacks complete their therapy with their panic under control.  You actually have everything that it takes to stop your panic attacks; it's just that no one has pointed them out before. I will, in a way that you can understand and act upon.

To learn more about how rational thinking helps with panic attacks, go here.

Dr. David L. Thomas, LMHC 

Whitford - Thomas Group

600 S. Magnolia Avenue

Suite 175

Tampa, FL 33606

(813) 872 - 8022

david@wtgtampa.com

© 2020 by Whitford - Thomas Group