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Anxiety Therapist NJ

Takeaway: If you have worry, dread, or despair about your purpose, you’re in the right place. Our existential anxiety therapists in New Jersey specialize in helping people like you confront these feelings, build confidence, and create meaning. Connect with us today to learn more about how we can help. 

Are you a nostalgic thinker? Do you get caught in your trap of anxious thoughts about your future, your past, and what the heck you're doing with you're life? Do these thoughts leave you feeling overwhelmed and in a state of decision paralysis, stress, and depression? Join the club! At Authentically Living Psychological Services, we are a group of existentially oriented clinicians who don't shy away from having difficult and anxiety-provoking conversations about death, meaning, and loneliness. In this post we will cover our unique approach to addressing existential anxiety, what you can expect from the therapy process, and whether our anxiety counseling and unique treatment modalities might be exactly what you're looking for to address those pesky anxious thoughts. Your journey into the deep abyss of existence does not have to be done in isolation.

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Our approach to anxiety therapy in NJ

Our understanding of the human existence and existential anxiety is rooted in existential philosophy, which touches on major elements of the human experience, such as death and human limitation (ex. illness), loneliness and isolation (ex. not feeling understood, seen; struggling to fit in; what it means to be authentic and how to live in alignment with your value system), responsibility and freedom (ex. the difficulties that come with making choices in life), and meaning and purpose (ex. the pressure to create something in your life that provides motivation and a sense of purpose, or that may leave a legacy for future generations). While these large themes may, at first, seem unrelated to your anxiety about passing your real estate license, upon further reflection, you may come to understand the correlations your anxiety has with your sense of purpose, your confidence, your social anxiety, and your ability to connect with others.

Our practice values authenticity, respect, genuine regard and understanding, humility, and humor. We pride ourselves in our human-first approach to anxiety therapy, allowing for a natural blossoming of the therapeutic relationship to form. Through a sound therapeutic relationship, we combine our existential and holistic philosophies with the free-flowing dialogue and collaboration we have with our clients to explore difficult life circumstances and the anxieties that often come from such experiences. We enjoy light-bulb moments and celebrate even the smallest wins our clients make in the development of themselves and in crystalizing living a life that is reflective of who they are as human beings.

At Authentically Living Psychological Service, we infrequently employ the use of cognitive behavior therapy and dialectical behavior therapy, in addition to the practices of exposure therapy. While these approaches are wonderful for those interested in challenging their anxious negative thoughts, thought patterns, and behaviors, and for those looking for concrete coping skills to use in the moment, our approach is far more depth-oriented, process-based, and takes the stance that self-understanding and validation are of utmost importance. Since existential anxiety can invoke experiences of panic and distress, we do incorporate mindfulness, creativity, yoga philosophies, and other tools to support our clients in down-regulating their nervous system and expressing themselves nonjudgmentally in efforts to better sit with the difficult conversations that often arise in our space and toward fostering emotional wellness.

Understanding the anxiety therapy process

While we don't like to think of our approach reductionistic-ally, and in fact, there is little use of a manualize that occurs with our work, it can be helpful to note aspects of our approach to gauge what it might look like in our talk therapy and what it might look like to work with one of our clinicians.​

Phenomenological & Narrative Exploration: Our therapists will often use open-ended questions for us to better understand your life experiences and anxious distress. We will inquire descriptively rather than explanatorily, to reduce the felt sense of defending an experience. We are looking to utilize descriptive and narrative language of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations with the suspension of judgment.

Reflective Listening: Since we dearly value the validation of a client's experience, our therapists are dedicated to keenly listening to both your verbal and nonverbal statements of communication. This is to understand your narration, as well as to truly see you and what your lived experience of anxiety looks like.

Religious, Spiritual, & Existential Beliefs: Through our conversations and in attempts to better understand you, spiritual and existential life views will surely enter the space, especially given how anxiety-provoking such thoughts can be. We will explore religious upbringings and views, and how such views have influenced how you live, as well as deity and death beliefs, relationships with your spiritual life, and how your beliefs may conflict with how you are living your life.

Values & Self-Understanding: Similar to conversations regarding spirituality, many of our conversations may focus on values and what you find important in life. It's often we find that many people enter therapy not knowing what is important to them (that can be super anxiety-provoking), and only through continuous conversations and life experiences do our clients become more aware of what is important to them. We'll further explore how to live by values and what happens when we are in situations that push up against our values.

Relational & Here-and-Now Processing: As noted, the relationship is one of the most critical components of therapy. We truly value forming a mutually respectful, safe, and collaborative space to be creative and explorative without hesitation. Such work often requires here-and-now reflections on the therapeutic relationship and processing of present-moment experiences, thoughts, feelings, and anxieties.

Role-Play, Gestalt Therapy, & Experiential Processing: In line with here-and-now processing, to expand our understanding of ourselves and others, we may encourage role-playing and other embodied activities to work on communication, self-assertion, and boundary setting to better understand how we respond in different situations and how our anxiety may affect others.

Logotherapy & Meaning Making: A foundational element of existential therapy is the focus on meaning, purpose, and fulfillment (talk about anxiety-provoking, yet again). Instead of pressuring our clients to "find" or create meaningful experiences, we focus on whether meaning is relevant to a person. If so, then we incorporate the above listed in developing fulfilling experiences.

Art & Creative Processing: While spoken dialogue is an important piece of the work we do, sometimes we need other resources to aid in self-expression, such as expressive therapies. The utilization of art, dance, movement, and music are helpful tools in supporting how we'd like to describe an experience, such as anxiety.

While the above is just a brief list of some elements of the work we do at Authentically Living Psychological Services, we hope it provides a peek as to what we can uncover, explore, and accomplish together.

Meet Dr. Cynthia Shaw | Anxiety therapist in New Jersey

Dr. Cynthia Shaw is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and owner of Authentically Living Psychological Services. She founded the practice to provide services to those interested in depth-oriented work and for those who struggle in their relationships with others, themselves, and their larger world context. She envisioned a group practice where holistic and philosophical approaches to practice are encouraged and used to support clients make sense of their existence in a world that feels overwhelming and where one can get lost in the chaos of life.

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  • Credentials:

    • Licensed Clinical Psychologist

    • Grief Informed Professional

    • Approved Clinical Supervisor

  • License numbers:

    • PsyPact: 14381

    • New York: 025643

    • New Jersey: 35SI00702400

    • Illinois: 071.010599

  • Education/degree:

    • Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

      • Generalist Adult Track

    • Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology

    • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Minor in English

  • Teletherapy

    • PsyPact Certified to practice in 40 states. Find out if your state is included here.

    • Additional licenses in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and North Carolina

  • Providing therapy since 2015

    • Experience: private practice, psychiatric in-patient hospitals, health psychology/in-patient, forensic unit/hospital, schools, assisted living facilities, methadone maintenace clinics.

    • Past clientele:

      • children, adolescents, and adults

      • psychotic disorders, substance use disorders, personality disorders, anxiety and mood disorders, trauma disorders, neurodevelopment disorders, eating disorders, sexual disorders, conduct disorders, neurocognitive disorders, paraphilic disorders.

    • Current clientele:

      • adolescents and adults

      • existential anxiety, low self-esteem, death anxiety, poor sense of self, depression, loneliness, difficulty forming genuine relationships, entrepreneurs, perfectionists, high achievers, nostalgic thinkers, emotionally sensitive, men's issues, spiritual questioning.

  • Modalities used:

    • existential philosophy (phenomenology)

    • humanistic and relational

    • acceptance and commitment therapy

    • gestalt therapy

    • logotherapy

    • person-centered

    • process and strengths-based

    • trauma-informed

    • compassion-focused

    • mindfulness-based.

  • Read More Here

Why choose Authentically Living Psychological Services for anxiety services

Who knew shopping could be so difficult? Shopping for a therapist is incredibly difficult! Every clinician has a different therapeutic style, preferred modality, philosophy of therapy, and personality. For a consumer, it can be incredibly defeating and tiring trying to assess who is the right fit for you. Hopefully, the below gives a small snippet of clarity as to what it would be like working with one of our clinicians at Authentically Living Psychological Services.

  • Human-first approach: We'll say it again as you're glossing over the page looking for some bolded terms...we are humans first and that is a major component or ingredient of our magic sauce. In a field that has been blended with neuroscience and biology, we are, at the core, a human science. The work that we do is helpful because we aren't blank slates regurgitating the latest AI script. It is our genuine style that each of us brings that helps our clients thrive.

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  • Non-hierarchical: We value creating a non-hierarchical space. While we may have additional education in the areas of psychology, philosophy, and mental health, you are also the expert of your own experience. Our job is to cast a light and reflect a mirror for you to get in touch with aspects of yourself that have been hidden. Mutual respect for the experiences we both bring to the room is a foundational value of our practice.

  • Non-directive, but Direct: As NE Natives, our Jersey clinicians are clear, direct, and forward with their observations and statements in session. This can sometimes be confusing to people when we use the word "direct." We will not direct or choreograph the session, as we also practice from a person-centered lens, allowing the natural flow of conversation to occur, but we are direct in how we communicate.

  • Non-traditional: To be honest, square breathing bores us a bit. While we are happy to teach necessary tools to our clients in need of such support, our strength is in our ability to ask the hard questions and make space for the difficult and uncomfortable topics that most therapists often struggle with.

  • Nostalgic Thinkers: We've experienced our own existential crisis, existential angst, and depressive waves of "what is the point of existence." We enjoy our nostalgic brains and enjoy helping clients also see the beauty of their thoughts.

  • Embracers of the Unknowns: As fellow humans who have experienced their own anxious distress (and still do at times), we have learned to embrace life's unknowns and wish to guide others in their own journey of life's unknowns and difficulties towards a greater sense of self-understanding, self-confidence, and groundedness.

  • Dedicated Life Learners: As non-hierarchical human-first clinicians we greatly value feedback and welcome you to share your thoughts uncandidly in session. We are dedicated to continuing to learn how to grow as clinicians and as human beings.

  • Ethically Sound: In a technologically advanced society, our internet is flooded with the latest salesy bullshit. If any of the coaching ads are promising results to rid your anxiety in 5 sessions, please hit the escape button, pronto! As clinicians who have dedicated years of their lives to education, rotational, and supervised practice, we uphold the highest of clinical practice, ethical standards, and evidenced-based treatment. We are honest with what you can expect from therapy, and take part in regular consultation for our own advancement in the field.


Overall, we love what we do and feel fortunate to be in a field where we are entrusted by wonderful individuals to support them in their life's journey. While our goal will always be to support our clients, we'd be lying if we didn't say we reap the benefit of getting to connect with their beautiful souls in return. If what is written resonates with what you are looking for in therapy, we encourage you to reach out.

FAQs about working with an anxiety therapist in NJ

  • What type of counseling is best for grief?
    There are many different types of counseling practices for addressing grief. The choice of modality is specific to the provider, as well as the assessment of client needs, preferences, and the nature of grief. Below are common counseling services typically provided for grief: Existential & Humanistic Therapy: Existential and humanistic therapy are interconnected therapies that focus on self-understanding while confronting limitations to being human, such as death, illness, and demise, responsibilities and freedom to make choices, and what it means to be authentic. The therapies highlight the integration of exploring meaning, purpose, and personal fulfillment while recognizing and challenging the irony of pointlessness and the inevitability of loss. Positive Psychology: Positive psychology has similarities to existential and humanistic therapy, as it focuses on promoting wellness and self-growth despite loss. Positive psychology is more strength-based and relies on personal resiliency, meaningful goals, and gratitude to navigate grief. Art & Expressive Therapy: Expressive therapies include the use of creative art interventions such as drawing, writing, painting, singing, dancing, and acting to process grief and loss. The use of mainstream talk therapy can sometimes be challenging for those who are grieving, and thus resorting to nonverbal forms of expression can be cathartic and supportive. Narrative Therapy: Similar to Expressive therapies and Positive Psychology, Narrative therapy focuses on allowing a person to story and describe their experience of loss. Identifying personal resiliency and noted strengths, narrative therapy further focuses on the re-narrating or re-storying of the loss; It provides an opportunity to notice new perspectives as we move through loss. Mindfulness-Based Therapy: Helpful as an additive to all modalities, especially for those grieving, Mindfulness-Based Therapy focuses on incorporating stress reduction tools, meditation practices, and mindfulness exercises to aid in down-regulating one's heightened nervous system, self-soothe, and ground an individual. Logotherapy: A branch of Existential therapy, Logotherapy is also an additive therapy that focuses specifically on creating meaning. Even in the face of suffering, Logotherapy highlight how we can still choose to create meaning. For unchanging situations, such as after loss, incorporating attitudinal shifts is a primary focus of logotherapy. Transpersonal Psychology & Grief Therapy: Known as a spiritual and holistic form of therapy, Transpersonal psychology focuses on experiences of interconnectedness such as during states of flow, sereneness, and meditation, and while using certain therapeutic substances, such as psychedelics. In the context of grief, this modality can help a person striving for connection with nature, and greater self alignment, and those interested in exploring their spiritual and religious beliefs and connections. Group & Family Therapy: As highlighted above, Group and Family therapy are effective modalities for those looking for greater communal support, collective processing, and learning how to better communicate and connect. Our practice offers a variety of the modalities presented above. If you have questions about a modality that you do not see listed, please contact us and a member of our staff will return your inquiry in 24-48 hours.
  • Is group therapy good for grief?
    Group therapy is a supportive modality for addressing grief, as it provides a space for peer support, communal validation, decreased isolation and loneliness, normalization of certain experiences, and an opportunity to share without fear of judgment. Group therapy encourages the expression of difficult emotions that may be more challenging to have with friends and colleagues, and is a platform for practicing how to advocate for your needs. Our grief therapy group offers a unique opportunity to utilize creative practices to express and address grief, that doesn't solely rely on the use of verbal processing. We have found that grief is often difficult to talk about and that words do not always express our experiences justly. In addition to creative interventions, such as writing, drawing, and painting, our incorporation of mindfulness exercises aids in down-regulating your nervous system at the end of group, and are additional tools for you to practice at your leisure when overwhelmed with the distress of grief. If you are interested in learning more about our grief group and whether this might be a good fit for you, reach out by clicking here. A member of our staff will return your inquiry in 24-48 hours.
  • How soon should you have bereavement counseling?
    The timing for starting bereavement therapy is different from person to person. Taking into account the nature of a loss, a person's readiness and interest in therapy, availability of supportive factors and coping skills, and cultural factors can influence when and if a person will seek bereavement counseling. It's important to remember that the healing process is unique for everyone and so there is no right or wrong time to seek therapy and that regardless of when your loss occurred, it is never too late to start grief therapy.

Make meaning of your experience with existential anxiety therapy in NJ.

Anxiety sucks! We constantly hear the yearning our clients have for their anxiety to just go away. At Authentically Living Psychological Services, psychotherapy focuses on validating and comforting the anxiety, and understanding your experience, all while collaboratively cultivating ways to boost your self-esteem, develop your sense of self, and create unique ways to manage your anxiety. Our Jersey and PsyPacy therapists are passionate, skilled, and down-to-earth, making the therapeutic experience feel comfortable, challenging, and rewarding. We are certain you will experience the benefit of our stress and anxiety services in NJ.

Public services announcement to all of our anxious adolescents and adults: there are ways to manage your anxiety and lead a life that feels confident, aligned, and inter and intrapersonally connected. Whether you're an entrepreneur anxious about leading a team, a stay at home mom anxious about their children making friends, or a college student anxious about an upcoming exam we encourage you to take the first step and reach out today.

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