Wellness Counseling Milwaukee - Di Philippi, MA, LPC
Achieving Well-Being eZine: August 2013
Di Philippi - Honored to be named one of the Top Holistic Healers by Milwaukee Magazine

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Happy Heat of the Summer!

Many people are unsure if what they are experiencing is really anxiety or something else.  So this issue examines some of the more common ways that anxiety surfaces.  Understanding it is the first step in developing a plan for resolution ....

Wishing you Well-Being,

    Di Philippi

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Anxiety Disorder? Do I have one?

I don't like labels. In the anxiety therapy field, we have a defined set of "anxiety disorder" codes to use for diagnosis.  The codes are limited because they force us to lump people in categories and use labels based on criteria that don't always accurately describe the real problem.
I prefer an individualized approach.  I look at the unique way that anxiety surfaces for each person, and then focus on making a customized plan focused on solving the real problem rather than on giving someone a label. Problems come and go but labels stick.
People often ask whether what they are experiencing is anxiety, so here's a look at some different types of anxiety (without worrying about the labels). Remember these are generalities and show up differently for different people.

Different Types of Anxiety

Chronic Worry

You would probably call yourself a "worry wart." You constantly worry about a number of different things... work, health, relationships. You think of worst-case scenarios and often wonder "what if" this or "what if" that.

Panic Attacks (aka Anxiety Attacks)

You suddenly feel physical symptoms that feel out of control, such as heart racing, dizziness, trembling, sweating, chills or flush, tingling or numbness. It comes out of nowhere and is very scary. You might think you're having a heart attack and go to the emergency room, only to find out nothing is physically wrong.

Fears and Phobias

You have strong fears of very specific things, such as: flying, driving, heights, enclosed spaces (like elevators, planes, or rooms without a clear exit route), feeling trapped, bugs, blood, driving, being alone, or being away from home. These are just some examples.

Social Anxiety (Shyness)

You often feel nervous around other people, perhaps only in a certain social situation, or in many different ones. You feel very self-conscious, wonder what people are thinking about you, and worry about embarrassing yourself. It's hard to go into new situations and have to meet new people.

Obsessive Thinking

You have the very same upsetting thoughts over and over again. This could include thoughts of losing control, being contaminated (or contaminating others) with dirt or germs, or feeling guilty for things you didn't even do. 

Compulsive Behaviors

You have an urge to do certain things. Perhaps count things, check and re-check things, wash/clean repeatedly, repeat words, or arrange things in a certain way. It's like you HAVE TO do them out of fear that something bad could happen. You can't seem to stop yourself.

Traumatic Reactions

You still have intense memories, emotions, flashbacks, and/or nightmares related to a past traumatic situation you witnessed or experienced. You may avoid certain places, people or situations. You may feel jumpy or "on alert" much of the time. Traumatic situations could include abuse, rape, violence, car accidents, miscarriage, bullying, injury/illness, someone dying, or many other things.


"Stuff" is overtaking your home. You may collect too many things, have a problem getting rid of things, and/or have a problem organizing things... to the point where it limits the use of your living spaces and wastes significant amounts of time.

Health Concerns

Your doctor tells you there is nothing to be concerned about, but you still seem to have continual health complaints and symptoms. You often focus on health problems and may wonder if you have a serious medical condition even though you've never been diagnosed with one.

Over-focus on Body Image

You're convinced there's something about your physical appearance that looks terrible. You're sure everyone notices so you don't believe them when they say that there's nothing wrong, or that you're beautiful. It could be related to your body shape, weight, acne, hair, nose or any another body feature.  It might be all you can see when you look in the mirror.

Public Speaking Anxiety

You dread having to speak in front of a group of people (small or large). You get extremely nervous, afraid that your mind will go blank or that you may make a fool of yourself.

Performance or Test Anxiety

You get overly anxious and nervous when you're expected to perform or compete in front of others.  You do poorly on tests even though you are well prepared.

"Shy Bladder"

You avoid public restrooms. You can't urinate when others are in the bathroom or might be within earshot. Even if you try, you just can't go.

White Coat Syndromenull

You get nervous even thinking about doctor appointments, and your blood pressure spikes every time you go to a doctor's office (and therefore they often want to give you medication for it).

In This Issue
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Cognitive Behavior Therapy (Change the Way You Think)

The single most powerful thing you can do to reduce anxiety is to change your perspective and train your brain to start assessing situations differently.  When you can look at problems, worries or fears in a different way, you can reduce feelings of anxiety.  Different thoughts lead to different feelings.
But if you could do that on your own, you probably would have done it already.  Changing those habits of thinking (in this case, anxiety thinking) is hard.
This is where Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) comes in.  This is one of the main types of anxiety therapy that I practice.  It has been shown in dozens of scientific studies to be probably the most effective treatment for many forms of anxiety
60-80% of people with an anxiety problem who complete a course of CBT will experience a significant reduction in their anxiety.  This is often better than (or at least equal to) the effectiveness of medication.  And CBT has longer-lasting results than medication alone because it gets to the root cause of the problem.  

About Me
Di Philippi, MA, LPC, Licensed Professional Counselor, Reiki Master Teacher

I specialize in holistic, non-medication solutions for anxiety. With this passion, I help people break free from their worries and find the peace and happiness they deserve. As a holistic counselor, I integrate proven counseling techniques and holistic, wellness practices that address all parts of your whole self: body, mind, spirit, emotions, and energy. With training and experience in Holistic Counseling, Energy Psychology, EFT, EMDR, and more, I offer innovative and natural ways to get unstuck, overcome challenges, and be happy! As a Reiki Master Teacher, I offer Reiki treatments and training. I love sharing in the power of group energy by facilitating groups and teaching a wide array of workshops at various locations around town.

I'd love to hear from you! Please feel free to Contact Me!
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Di Philippi, MA, LPC: Verified by Psychology Today     www.WellnessCounselingMilwaukee.com (414)588-0969