I’m so glad you’re here! Are you struggling with anxiety, or have you been diagnosed with an anxiety condition? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
My name is Kama Jensen, and I’m an anxiety specialist working with simple and complex anxiety conditions. I believe in a transparent and kind counseling relationship, and I’ll help you find your way through the fog of fear.
First, let’s look at what anxiety is, and then I’ll share how a specialist can help.
Your mind pays close attention to thoughts and beliefs about the danger in the world. Ultimately, the mind will categorize the world into areas to explore and areas to avoid. Why?
The brain has a #1 job – to keep you safe.
It does this through signaling systems.
You have two primary safety signaling systems – the anxiety system and the pain system. The brain uses the pain system (physical sensation with the desire to pull away and avoid) and the anxiety system (physical sensations with the desire to move away and avoid) to accomplish this important task.
Your “anxiety system” is a complex balance between emotion, memory, and learning. The mind will tag specific experiences or memories – and send you signaling (anxiety) when you have thoughts or environmental triggers about the “tagged” fear. Signaling you to monitor, and reduce uncertainty.
When this system senses you’re getting close to something dangerous, it will set off a cascade of physical sensations that feel like anxiousness. These sensations are meant to feel, well, alarming! The brain wants your attention. It gives you a bolt of energy and laser focus to assess the danger.
When the system is working well, and you’re interpreting risk accurately. You’re reasonably accurate about the danger and threat level around you.
If in danger, your alarm system will go off. You’ll feel anxious. Then it will come back down. Reducing anxiousness. You’ll return to a comfortable baseline. When the system isn’t doing its job well – here is where the problem begins. I don’t have to tell you. Your alarm system is sensitive and goes off too quickly, for too long, or for unhelpful reasons.
Remember, anxiety is designed to keep you safe.
This can be difficult to remember if you’re suffering from anxiety concerns.
When feeling anxious is causing problems in your life and keeps you less safe, it’s no longer helpful or informative! When anxiousness warns you to move away from things or situations that are not harmful, anxiety is no longer serving its biological function and is confused. Counseling helps to correct the confusion.
Ultimately, that’s what we mean by an anxiety disorder. The mind has tagged something as dangerous. And now it’s telling you to avoid it. Avoidance only reinforces the belief by blocking new experiences.
The definition of “disordered” is the disruption of systematic functioning. Meaning the anxiety process isn’t functioning as it should. The process gets off track for a variety of reasons, depending on the type of anxiety condition.
The term “disorder” gets a bad rap. It’s actually a very holistic term. Healing from a disorder means returning to a whole state or improving function.
Staying avoidant of something (like social events, flying, telling someone how you feel, or even feeling anxious) makes sense if we honestly believe the situation is dangerous. But as we age into adulthood, moving into our 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond, what we learn about fear, anxiety, and uncertainty will evolve and change.
Maybe the same several things will trigger anxiety throughout your lifetime. But other than that, what makes us anxious one day may not be what makes us as nervous the next day.
Why? It has to do with experiential learning, how the brain tags a memory and integrates new knowledge. A brain is a learning machine. If you practice specific skills, even anxious wiring can be rewired. And if you can’t rewire it, you can change how you respond to it. You have options.
At Conscious Living Counseling & Education Center, we engage the learning process to treat anxiety conditions. We offer treatments designed to help you get slightly ‘bored’ with the things you currently fear, inviting you to explore new habits.
Recovery from an anxiety condition means no longer living a life based on fear or avoidance and moving more freely through your day.
How Can an Anxiety Counselor Help?
It’s okay for you to talk about what’s happening here. Things will make sense during the process. Your symptoms may be confusing now, but the confusion will fall away as you learn more about what’s happening and what to do about it.
Clinical counseling offers specific, research-supported treatments for specific anxiety conditions. We’ll provide a simple, clear clinical assessment to explore the nature of symptoms and develop an appropriate care plan for each step of your care.
We specialize in the following anxiety patterns:
The pattern of deeply thinking about past experiences with a focus on avoiding discomfort, resulting in an increase in discomfort. Replaying events and conversations. Placing unreasonable expectations on performance or outcomes.
- Social anxiety
- Shame-based thoughts
- Attachment and relational anxiety
- Parenting anxiety
Events or memories from the past keep impacting you today.
- Event results in negative beliefs about yourself or life
- Event impacts functioning and ability to make healthy choices
- EMDR or CPT treatments recommended
EXECUTIVE FUNCTION PATTERN
Frequent feelings of being overwhelmed and under-performing. Overwhelmed is a cognitive state resulting in too much information too fast, to the point of feeling consuming or panic-inducing. It feels a lot like anxiety – but has more to do with information processing versus fear of uncertainty- a primary feature of anxiety.
This pattern is based on rule-governed behavioral thinking. Thinking is often inflexible and causes consequences as well as rewards. Inflexible thinking is often paired with other skills deficits such as struggling with organization, time awareness, or interpersonal effectiveness. The pattern results in Rule-Goal fusion. Meaning a belief that there is only one path to reach a goal, and it becomes a rule for self, as well as applied to others.
Research-Supported Counseling, No Guessing
We offer both holistic and research-supported interventions. Everything is on a continuum. We’ll help you find the best counseling interventions for you. However, we’ll hold steady where it counts – and challenge you to apply the necessary skills to improve your symptoms. Good counseling is an art form – a blend of support, education, and strengthening self-discipline.
Do you like to research? If you’re interested, you can look up these interventions. However, you don’t need to know everything about the process. That’s our job.
We’ll explain things in understandable terms. We want to help you decode an anxiety disorder, but most of all, we want to help you learn how to grow and fully engage in your life.
We offer research-supported, contemporary treatments, including:
Is your partner your current anxiety counselor? Do you need your partner on-board?
People struggling with an anxiety condition often benefit from adapting how they communicate with their partner or spouse. As anxiety symptoms are usually running the show! It’s helpful if your partner supports your recovery. We can coach your partner in helpful ways to communicate, break reassurance patterns, and offer compassionate support.
Loving partners enjoy feeling more confident in how they offer support to their partners. It’s a win-win. With the new patterns, couples can learn how to bond over other topics and enjoy each other without worry being the primary topic.
Are you working with another medical provider or taking anxiety medication?
Working with a trusted medical provider or psychiatrist? We’d love to coordinate care with your medical team or prescribing physician – or we can keep this separate, too, if you desire more privacy.
If you need assistance finding a great provider or would benefit from a referral, We provide referrals to trusted providers in the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo area.
We support both medication and holistic treatment plans. Again, it comes down to what’s the best option for you and your recovery.
Do you need to use your insurance?
Clinical counseling is an intervention for a medical condition, such as an anxiety condition or ADHD. These are recognized medical conditions and you may use your insurance to help with the cost of treatment. Our clinic currently accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, and BCBS PPO plans, Sanford Health, and private-pay.