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People often describe living with anxiety as being trapped in a maze, where at every turn there is this rising fear in their gut that the path ahead will lead to more uncertainty and discomfort.

Whether your experience of anxiety is a constant presence or is triggered in certain situations, whether it has been a part of your life for decades or is only a recent instance or two, the impact can be incredibly disruptive.

As it seeps into the walls of our minds and takes hold of our thoughts, anxiety can feel like an uninvited guest overstaying its welcome. Without effective management, we may feel ourselves lose confidence in taking on even the simplest tasks, like meeting up with a friend, going to class, driving to work, or even making a phone call.

At On Your Mind Counselling, we recognize that anxiety influences everyone in a unique way. Whether your anxiety was triggered by childhood trauma, a painful breakup, perfectionism, or a major life transition, we are here to meet you where you are, supporting you at a pace that is right for you.

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What is Anxiety and How Does it Manifest?

The term ‘anxiety’ is often used to describe intense, sometimes even intrusive feelings of stress. It manifests as feelings of nervousness, unease, or fear. However, it differs from everyday stress in that it can persist for longer periods, interfering with daily activities and sometimes arising without a clear cause.

Anxiety has become very normalized in our culture, as many of us have likely used to describe our own feelings at some point. While it is a natural human response, there are times when anxiety presents as a persistent experience, even becoming clinically significant.

Five of the most common types of anxiety-based mental health conditions include:

  1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): the most common form of anxiety which manifests as constant worry about everyday issues or situations
  2. Panic Disorder: recurrent and unpredictable panic attacks that are accompanied by persistent worry and anxiety about future attacks
  3. Social Anxiety Disorder: intense and constant fear of being watched, judged, or criticized by others in a social setting
  4. Specific Phobias: intense fear and avoidance of specific objects or contexts, such as heights, spiders, textures, or small spaces
  5. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): recurrent and unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviours (compulsions) that are difficult to control

Outside of these more clinical terms, anxiety can also take the form of:

  • Performance anxiety: fear of taking part in certain events such as public speaking, exam writing, or job interviews
  • Health anxiety: excessive worry about one’s health, such as the idea of developing a serious health condition in the future
  • Financial anxiety: stress related to money, often manifesting through debt, job insecurity, and economic instability
  • Relationship anxiety: uncertainty regarding interpersonal relationships, such as fearing rejection, abandonment, or conflict
  • Decision-making anxiety: difficulty making a decision due to fear of making the wrong choice or having a decision lead to unfavourable outcomes
  • Situational anxiety: excessive worry triggered by specific situations or events, such as getting on a plane, attending a social gathering, or going to the hospital
  • Sleep anxiety: extreme difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep due to ruminating thoughts of the past or fear of impending events in the future

No matter the type of anxiety you’re currently facing, recognizing these challenges can empower you to seek support to help you get to the bottom of your concerns, address the underlying causes, and find effective strategies for managing and overcoming your anxiety.

Common Symptoms of Anxiety

Considering the number of ways anxiety can manifest, there are also a ton of different symptoms that follow. Here are some of the mental, emotional, and physical symptoms involved in anxiety.

Mental and Emotional Symptoms:

  • The constant fear of the worst possible scenarios
  • Persistent patterns of overthinking or rumination
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Feelings of restlessness and difficulty concentrating
  • Intrusive thoughts (i.e. constant dread of impending threat in the future)
  • Avoidance of specific places, people, or things

Physical Symptoms:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating, clammy palms, or trembling
  • Shortness of breath or hyperventilation
  • Muscle tension, aches, or pains
  • Fatigue and insomnia
  • Digestive issues, nausea, or diarrhea

Although occasional symptoms of anxiety may be considered a “normal” part of life, such as feeling nervous, clammy, or shaky before a big presentation, it is necessary to notice within yourself when these symptoms shift to becoming more significant.

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How We Can Support You

At On Your Mind Counselling, our team of licensed professionals recognizes that each person’s experience with anxiety is unique, and we are committed to providing personalized support tailored to your needs, symptoms, and goals.

We work with you to target the symptoms that are causing you the most distress.

Whether that means calming the mind enough to get a better night’s sleep, overcoming the fear of failure to pursue your career goals with confidence, or addressing avoidance behaviours that may be keeping you from attending your friend’s wedding, therapy focuses on empowerment to help you navigate life with greater ease.

Therapeutic Modalities

Our team uses a range of modalities that are best suited for anxiety and related symptoms. Using grounding tools or calming exercises that target your anxiety, these approaches are designed to help you manage and reduce anxiety effectively.

Here are five therapeutic approaches we often use.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is widely acknowledged as an effective treatment for anxiety. CBT helps individuals by addressing both the thoughts and behaviours that are contributing to their anxiety to create a more balanced and healthier mindset.

CBT helps you:

  • Identify negative thoughts that contribute to anxiety (i.e. expecting the worst, making broad conclusions from a single event, or blaming yourself for things beyond your control)
  • Learn techniques to challenge and reframe negative thoughts through cognitive restructuring, replacing irrational thoughts with realistic and healthy ones
  • Become more comfortable and at ease with feared situations or things that give rise to anxiety to establish confidence and resilience

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is another effective treatment for anxiety, offering a unique approach to both managing symptoms and improving quality of life.

ACT helps you:

  • Accept anxiety and the related thoughts that come without trying to change, eliminate, or avoid them, reducing the power they hold over you
  • Clarify your values and commit to actions that align with those values, even in the presence of anxiety
  • Learn techniques that help you mindfully detach from and observe anxious thoughts without getting caught in the tangled web of rumination

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a type of CBT that focuses on the acceptance of anxiety while working towards changing thoughts and behaviours that are involved in causing you distress.

DBT helps you:

  • Understand the role of mindfulness and remaining present and aware of thoughts and feelings without judgment, reducing anxious symptoms through the process of grounding
  • Learn skills to tolerate and manage distressing situations and emotions without engaging in avoidance or unhealthy behaviours to better cope with long-term
  • Focus on managing intense emotions that accompany anxiety, thus allowing you to respond in a healthier, more adaptive manner

Psychodynamic Therapy

Compared to CBT and DBT, psychodynamic therapy is a less structured form of therapy that uses a deeper exploration of past events, challenges, or traumas to gain insight into your presenting anxiety symptoms.

Psychodynamic therapy helps you:

  • Look into underlying unconscious conflicts and past experiences that contribute to your anxiety
  • Learn techniques to bring these ‘below the surface’ thoughts and feelings into conscious awareness, allowing for the process of understanding and stress reduction
  • Identify recurring patterns of negative thoughts, how they interact with one another, and how they may be influencing your current relationship with anxiety

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is a common anxiety-reducing tool that is used to treat social anxiety, phobias, and panic disorders.

Exposure therapy helps you:

  • Lower your sensitivity to anxiety or fear responses through a gradual and repeated exposure process
  • Build tolerance to anxiety-related situations to allow you to better manage symptoms by confronting fears head-on
  • Change negative associated with anxiety triggers (i.e. social situations or phobias) and allow you to reframe your perception and reduce the power it holds over you

What to Expect From Anxiety-Focused Therapy

Given the way anxiety can impact your life, having the support available to guide you through these stressors, uncertainties, and unhelpful thought patterns is foundational to gaining confidence, overcoming fears, and reaching your full potential in life.

How we can help you manage and overcome your anxiety:

  • Providing a safe space for you to share and express your emotions authentically without judgment
  • Identifying the causes of anxiety and learning how to manage triggers
  • Addressing avoidance behaviours gradually to face anxiety-inducing situations
  • Practicing relaxation methods to reduce anxious symptoms in the real-world setting
  • Facilitating healing, boosting self-confidence, and promoting empowerment to control anxiety and sustain positive changes over time

No matter where you are currently in your journey with anxiety, our goal is to walk with you and provide the guidance necessary to help you heal, grow, and thrive.

Meet Our Anxiety Experts

Dealing with anxiety can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to face it alone. We are here to help you find a way forward, offering support and guidance every step of the way.

Alexandra Tan

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“I will support you in setting goals and developing the insight and skills that will allow you to navigate life’s challenges with a greater sense of confidence, clarity, and grace.”

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Cassandra Wolfe

Cassandra Wolfe - On Your Mind Counselling

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through the process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.” - Brene Brown

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Miguel Guayasamin

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“Life is beautiful, in part because of its challenges which can help us to grow and learn more about ourselves.”
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Noreen Goraya

Noreen Goraya - On Your Mind Counselling

“We all have our own beautiful, messy but ultimately unique stories. Who we are, and how we present ourselves to the world and the people around us, are defined by our narratives.”

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Robin Johal

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“My goal is to help you navigate such challenges through a nonjudgmental and culturally sensitive approach.”

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Sally Polus

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“I’m here to let you know that there is help in dealing with your struggles and you don’t have to continue to carry these issues alone.”

Learn More About Sally
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