Anxiety & Mood

About The Connections Among Anxiety, Stress, Emotions & Defences

Last week’s post was about different possible causes for anxiety. In Cognitive behavioural therapy, CBT the common view is that anxiety is triggered by anxiety inducing thoughts about the fear of experiencing different kinds of real or perceived dangers.

There is another school of thought that views anxiety as symptoms of stress and strong mixed emotions, among others as in the more modern thinking within the psychodynamic field that stems from Freud, such as ISTDP, intensive short term dynamic psychotherapy, PFPP, panic-focused psychodynamic psychotherapy and AEDP, accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy.

In this perspective the main important dimension of anxiety is that it is thought to rise within us when we experience strong mixed emotions that we in some way during childhood have learnt can challenge our close relationships, and hence we have learnt to push away.

A common example is when showing emotions challenged our emotional closeness to family members by experiencing them reacting negatively to our display of emotions.

In ISTDP it is important together with a specialized therapist to:

– Talk about a specific situation that involves another human being that triggered psychological symptoms, anxiety and/or conscious emotions

– While talking about this situation noticing and exploring the feelings this situation evokes , more specifically if it triggers emotions, anxiety or defences:

If defences: then one shall notice this and redirect focus to one’s feelings

If emotions: continue to explore these with the techniques posted in previous posts

If anxiety: discern what level of anxiety one has

More about what can be done the to reduce this kind of anxiety in coming posts.


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