Anxiety & Mood

How To Handle Anxiety Stemming From Conflicting Emotions Towards Close Ones

As mentioned in the last weeks’ posts, there are several views of the cause of anxiety which have different implications for how to treat anxiety.
In Cognitive behavioural therapy, CBT, the common view is that anxiety is triggered by anxiety inducing thoughts concerning various fears.
There is another school of thought that views anxiety as symptoms of stress and strong mixed emotions.
Anxiety is here 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 these feelings away leading to psychological suffering.
As mentioned last week, in ISTDP it is important together with a specialized therapist to:
Talk about a specific situation that involved another human being that triggered symptoms, anxiety and/or conscious emotions
While talking about this situation noticing and exploring the feelings this situation evokes
– If it triggers emotions, anxiety or defences:
– If defences: then one should notice this and redirect the 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 it is:
If anxiety is moderate as when sighing and showing tense muscles movements, then attention is redirected to explore the mixed emotions underneath, often involving unacknowledged anger – for many persons a ‘forbidden’ feeling, guilt for having anger against a close person as well as sadness covering the love and longing of being close to that person.
More about what can be done the to reduce stronger anxiety in coming posts.
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