Counselling Services in Singapore for Anxiety

Jul 2024 | lifestyle, mental wellness, resources

Poor mental health continues to be a concern here in Singapore, with the Ministry of Health stating that around 10% of the population suffer from some form of anxiety disorder. Anxiety can affect individuals at another age, including the elderly and children. They often also occur in tandem with other mental health issues such as depression. 

Anxiety can have a significant impact on one’s quality of life, affecting relationships, work, and sleep. It can also affect your physical health, and put stress on various bodily systems. In this article, we’re going to help you better understand what this condition feels like and how counselling services in Singapore for anxiety are positioned to help you address its pernicious effects. 

How Do I Know If I Have Anxiety?

In general, everyone experiences some level of anxiety at certain points in their lives. Whether it’s waiting for a test result, attending a job interview or having a one-on-one meeting with your boss. A sense of nervousness and anxiety is normal. However, when these feelings of anxiety interfere with your ability to function on a daily basis, it becomes a disorder. 

Anxiety disorders refer to a range of conditions, all of which share the common feature of intense fear and dread. These disorders include:

  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia
  • Social Phobia/Social Anxiety Disorder 
  • Specific Phobias (Eg, animal phobias, situational phobias and phobias of the natural environment)

The symptoms of anxiety differ from one individual to another. Every person’s experience with anxiety is unique, although there are some common signs to look out for. Apart from intense fear and a sense of doom, those with anxiety can also experience the following symptoms:

  • A pounding heart
  • Trembling and shaking
  • Cold sweats
  • A churning feeling in your stomach
  • Hot flashes or chills
  • Sleep disturbances, including difficulty falling asleep and difficulty staying asleep
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • A decreased appetite
  • Decreased sexual drive
  • Feeling restless and unable to be still

In general, the best way for you to determine if you suffer from anxiety is to reach out for professional help. According to the Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH), it takes an average of 6 to 9 years for Singaporeans to seek help from the onset of their anxiety symptoms. 

Many of those who suspect that they have anxiety may be deterred by the stigma attached to mental health treatment. By understanding the types of therapy and treatment options available, you can reduce any apprehensions that may prevent you from seeking help. 

Available Counselling Services for Anxiety 

Treatments for anxiety disorders fall into two main categories, The first category is medication, usually prescribed by a practising psychiatrist. The second category involves counselling therapy, whereby therapists conduct training or talking sessions to help you understand the root cause of your fears and equip you with methods to address them. This is also sometimes known as psychotherapy. 

Here, we’re going to look more closely at the psychotherapy methods available to treat anxiety. Usually, therapists will tailor their strategies and approaches to meet your specific needs, using one or more of the techniques mentioned below. They may also incorporate methods not mentioned here.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a method that’s widely used in psychotherapy to treat various issues and is not limited to addressing anxiety. In essence, CBT encourages you to rethink and re-evaluate your views in order to gain a more positive outlook. 

When used as an intervention for anxiety, CBT allows you to change unrealistic and unhelpful beliefs you may have about yourself, your fears and your problems. You will be encouraged to question and challenge these belief systems to eventually build healthier beliefs and a more positive outlook. 

CBT has been shown to be effective in treating GAD, OCD and acute stress-related disorders when compared to a placebo treatment. 

Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt therapy relies on the theory that human perception transcends their sensory experiences. Instead, humans tend to perceive the things around them as patterns. This approach encourages one to make connections between their life experiences, thereby reaching a more wholesome awareness of oneself. 

The Gestalt approach helps you to realise limiting thought patterns which contribute to their current situation, and rethink them in a new perspective. Some methods employed for Gestalt therapy include role-playing certain situations, recognising feelings and not avoiding them, integrating both body and mind, and exploring opposing situations to understand them better. 

Gestalt therapy has been shown to be fruitful in treating anxiety, whereby therapists encourage participants to understand the root of their feelings and address them in safe and supportive surroundings.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is a method developed in 1987 by Dr. Francine Shapiro, an American psychologist, to treat individuals suffering from PTSD. The basic principle of this approach is the use of bilateral stimulation (in the form of eye movement or finger tapping) to help process traumatic memories. This is believed to help decrease the vividness of the negative emotions an individual experiences.

Apart from PTSD, EMDR has been used to treat other mental health issues like anxiety, depression, dissociative disorders, and more. When something scary or stressful happens to an individual, the storage of information in the body and brain about the event can be disrupted. This leads to continued experience of the sensations, emotions and self-beliefs related to the event in the present despite the event being in the past. EMDR utilizes bilateral stimulation (i.e. eye movements, tapping, tones, etc.) to facilitate desensitization of the body sensations and emotions to reduce disturbances caused by recall of the experience and supports reprocessing of the negative self-belief as a result of the event towards more adaptive self-beliefs.

Person-Centred Therapy  

Person-Centred Therapy was developed by psychologist Carl Rogers in the 1940s. It is therefore sometimes known as “Rogerian” therapy. It is based on the belief that every person possesses the innate ability to grow and improve. With the help of a non-judgmental and empathetic therapist, an individual will be able to achieve a better self-awareness and be empowered to reach their full potential. 

Person-centred therapy is a client-directed approach, whereby the therapist will support the client to share their thoughts in a transparent manner through unconditional positive regard, empathy, and genuinity. Those with anxiety will find this method helpful in discovering the source of their fears, and realising the best methods to overcome them.

Final Thoughts 

Anxiety can be debilitating, and interfere with your ability to live to the fullest. Thankfully, there are many proven therapies that offer relief. Therapy and counselling centres, like Safe Expanse, offer you a space where you can find acceptance and reassurance for whatever you’re going through. 

Our therapists are equipped to guide you as you navigate your way to better mental wellness. Contact us if you would like to schedule a therapy session, or if you have any enquiries at all about your condition. We are committed to providing safe spaces where you can recover, heal and improve your overall well being.