Anxiety is one of the more common challenges that face people in the 21st-century. No one chooses to become anxious. The types of anxiety that one can deal with cover a wide range of problems, from simple phobias to post traumatic stress disorder. From the perspective of Jungian psychology, anxiety is your psyche’s attempts to solve a problem.
So why would someone become anxious? There are a number of reasons why anxiety becomes an issue for someone. If we use the idea that the anxiety is an attempt to solve a problem, we can deal with the underlying root of the problem rather than just the symptoms. In other words we need to remember that the anxiety has an underlying cause, that produces the symptoms.
Many of the current short-term cognitive therapeutic approaches to anxiety try to address the thinking that is involved in the anxiety symptoms. Most people say these therapeutic approaches don’t produce the results they expected. They already know what they’re thinking. They are far more interested in trying to work out why they are thinking it.
Let’s take an example. Let’s imagine someone is working extremely hard at their career, spending long hours at work, and just trying to pay the bills and provide for his or her family. They spend increasing time at work, less time with their children and family, stop exercising, start to eat badly, and in general lose a sense of connection with the life they once led. They begin to become anxious. If the anxiety takes an obsessive-compulsive form, for example, they may find that they have to repeatedly check things before they leave home. They need to check that the iron is switched off, that the stove is off, and the door is locked, and they turn the key 7, 8, 9, 10 times in an attempt to ensure that is done properly. The anxiety is creating a profound doubt that they individual can do anything correctly.
The anxiety then begins to overtake their life. What the psyche is trying to do, (and by psyche I mean your personality), is change the way you are behaving. So a very simple way of understanding anxiety is to say that your personality is trying to correct the way you go about living your life.
Let’s take another example. Let’s imagine someone who becomes very anxious about being around people. This person may be developing social anxiety. They find it increasingly difficult to work, to visit friends, or even to go shopping in a large mall. Over time they reduce the number of contacts they have with groups of people. This usually begins with avoiding friends, avoiding shopping at regular shopping hours, preferring to go and shop very late at night when there’s no one around.
After some time they find the very act of leaving the home becomes extremely threatening. They tend to stop driving, they no longer are able to take the kids to school, they stop shopping altogether, and find themselves spending 24 hours a day inside the home. Pretty soon it is a major challenge just to walk down the street they live on. This person has developed agoraphobia. They are essentially a shut-in.
Here’s where the major problem arises for this individual wishing to seek treatment. How can they go and find a therapist downtown when they can’t leave their own home? The more time they spend shut in their home the worse the situation becomes. Very few therapists are prepared to make home visits, so even though the person is suffering, they cannot access any treatment.
Computer technology is a major game changer in this problem. With the advent of webcams and video conferencing software such as Skype and FaceTime an individual who was shut in due to anxiety can still receive the same quality of psychotherapy in their own home. This is what Skype analysis, Skype psychoanalysis or online analysis entails. The individual meets with an analyst for an hour each week online. Exactly the same type of analysis occurs online as it would if the individual met with the analyst in his or her office. The difference is that the person can access treatment in a safe and comfortable way, until they have developed the resources to leave the house.
I have dealt with a number of shut-in anxiety suffering people using online analysis. If they live in the province of British Columbia I asked them to make a commitment to see me on the anniversary date of our first meeting. By this I mean that within a year of their first contact with me they will attend a follow-up session with me in my office in person. Thus far everyone I have made this arrangement with has kept their promise. For people who live outside the province, often internationally, I make a similar commitment with them, however, arrange for them to go to meet with somebody or go to a place that in the past would have not been possible for them to get to because of the anxiety.
If you would like to explore dealing with anxiety using online analysis with me, please contact me.