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Panic Attacks Therapist NYC

Takeaway: Anxiety and panic attacks don’t have to rule your life. With our mindful, compassionate approach to panic attack counseling, you can start feeling more at ease, grounded, and confident that when the sudden panic strikes, you won't have to fear losing control.

You're in the middle of the grocery store down aisle three, looking for your favorite sourdough bread, when you get this wave of nervousness. The first time this happened it caught you by surprise, you thought you were dying from a heart attack with the intense chest pain and shortness of breath. This time, you know exactly what's happening: you're having another panic attack; your heart accelerates, you become frozen, and your face goes white as a sheet. You're looking for the bathroom sign, so you don't have to make a scene again in the middle of a public setting. After hyperventilating in the bathroom stall for a few minutes, you run your hands under the cold water, frustrated and wiped out. Instead of having a productive Sunday, you return home upset over the morning's events. You're stuck wondering, "Why does this keep happening to me? What is wrong with me? Am I just crazy?" We can assure you that nothing is wrong with you, and no, you're not crazy. Panic attacks are common and can sneak up on you during the most inopportune moments. While you might feel hopeless and directionless, especially if you've had recurring panic attacks, our anxiety expert therapists can help you better understand the origin of your anxiety attacks, physical symptoms, psychological factors, why they occur, how to identify triggers, how to live more mindfully, and in addressing "root causes" and associated factors.

panic attacks psychotherapist nyc

Understanding panic attacks

Panic attacks are often intense episodes of fear, worry, and anxiety that appear to come on suddenly, and that are associated with many physiological, emotional, and cognitive symptoms. While the experience may feel as if it's lasting forever and can be mistaken for life-threatening medical conditions, a panic attack peaks within a few minutes and does not last longer than 30 minutes. Panic attacks are also not life-threatening, even though they feel quite severe.

Physiological Symptoms:

When having a panic attack there are many bodily sensations that we can experience because our body is responding to a potential threat or perceived threatening situation. This is referred to as the body's fight or flight response, as the body is preparing to respond to the threat by either freezing, fighting, or fleeing. In these situations, our bodies are releasing stress hormones, such as adrenaline, keeping us on high alert, which leads to many physical reactions. Such physical panic symptoms include the following:

  • Shallow breathing

  • Hot flashes

  • Chills

  • Heart palpitations

  • Shortness of breath

  • Dizziness

  • Sweating

  • Trembling

  • Numbness

  • Tingling sensation

  • Nausea

  • Chest pain

Cognitive Symptoms:

Our cognition plays a large role in how we perceive information. In fact, due to past trauma and other negative experiences, we may misinterpret situations as dangerous when they might not be threatening or harmful to us. For example, we may fear or worry about enclosed spaces, crowded spaces, or situations where we may not feel as in control, leading our fight or flight response to become easily triggered. Such cognitive panic attack symptoms include the following:

 

Psychological Symptoms:

As the name suggests, the emotional symptoms associated with panic attacks are usually high levels of anxiety, intense fear, and overwhelming worry. Our anxiety may be drastically out of proportion to the perceived threat, may not seem to make sense to others, and may carry a great deal of shame. The following symptoms are typical emotional experiences associated with a panic attack:

  • Intense anxiety

  • Fear of dying

  • Existential fears

  • Fear of losing control

  • Embarrassment or shame

  • Sense of impending doom

  • Overwhelm

  • Sadness

  • Hopelessness

 

While diagnosing is not the most important element of our practice, it can be helpful to understand that the diagnosis of panic disorder is both the inclusion of panic attacks and the fear or concern that you will have another one in a public setting. So not only would you have unexpected recurring attacks, but you will also experience anticipatory anxiety about potential future episodes.

Like anything related to mental health, nothing is black and white. Thus, when asking yourself what causes a panic attack, the answer is not so black and white and can consist of biological, environmental, emotional, and personal related experiences.

  • Biology: There may be genetic factors that can make a person more susceptible to anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. For those who have less serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, or an overproduction of adrenaline and other stress hormones, they may be more sensitive to anxiety-related conditions and experiences.

  • Medical Conditions: For those who have certain medical conditions, hormone imbalances, or other heart and sugar-related diseases or irregularities, not only could you be more vulnerable to panic attacks, but certain symptoms may mimic panic attacks, making one feel more anxious. Due to the mind-body relationship, we may not be able to decipher whether our elevated heart rate is due to high blood pressure or anxiety.

  • Our Environment: Like the role of biology, the environment also has a strong role in the development of anxiety. Anxiety and panic attacks may be conditioned or learned behaviors, where we witnessed caretakers and other adults responding to high-stress situations in grandiose and catastrophized ways.

  • Trauma: The experience of trauma, abuse, assault, crime, accidents, loss, natural disasters, and war, as well as major life changes and milestones can also contribute to high levels of anxiety and panic attacks.

  • High Stress: In the same vein, high levels of stress, tension, poor work-life balance, demanding careers, and chronic stress can not only change your biology and DNA, but can also contribute to the experience of anxiety and panic attacks.

  • Substance Misuse: While many may resort to recreational drug use to ease anxiety and tension, in many instances it can cause paranoia and anxiety, and similar to some medical conditions, can mimic panic-like symptoms, such as heart palpitations and sweating. For those who are in a state of withdrawal, this also has the potential to increase anxiety, irritability, and panic.

  • Situation Discomforts: Being in small spaces, crowded rooms, or feeling as if escaping a situation would be difficult or near impossible (ex. a concert venue, an airplane, or a room without windows) can make a person feel confined, increasing panic, worry, and potential fears of death or bodily harm.

  • Personality Traits: Our personality develops from our biology, learned observations, environment, and life experiences. This blend can lead to personality features such as neuroticism or perfectionism, which are personality traits more likely to experience anxiety and panic attacks.

  • Poor Coping: While many of us have observed others panic, rarely to we observe or learn how to cope with distressing situations. Thus, many are ill-equipped at stress reduction, mindfulness, and tools for well-being and psychological wellness, making anxiety build into the culmination of panic and panic attacks.

Meet 2 top-rated panic attacks mental health professionals in NYC

Dr. Cynthia Shaw

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 with low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression, and 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. Learn more about Dr. Shaw below.

panic attacks therapist nyc
  • Credentials:

    • Licensed Clinical Psychologist

    • Grief Informed Professional

    • Approved Clinical Supervisor

  • License numbers:

    • PsyPact: 14381

    • New York: 025643

    • New Jersey: 35SI00702400

    • Illinois: 071.010599

    • North Carolina: 6535

  • 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 maintenance 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, and 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

Jaclyn Paradise
 

Dr. Shaw works alongside Ms. Jaclyn Paradise, a New Jersey-based Licensed Associate Counselor who specializes in working with anxiety disorders, and who enjoys working from a holistic and mindfulness-based approach to help those struggling with mental health conditions such as low self-esteem, panic attacks, and trauma.

panic attacks therapist manhattan
  • Credentials:

    • Licensed Associate Counselor

    • Certified Trauma Professional

    • Certified Mindfulness Informed Professional

    • Yoga Teacher Certified

  • License numbers:

    • New Jersey: 37AC00745300

  • Education/degree:

    • Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

    • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

  • Teletherapy

    • New Jersey

    • Additional licenses upon receiving LPC

  • Providing therapy since 2021

    • Experience: substance-use clinics, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient settings, private practice, intake coordination

    • Past clientele:

      • adolescents and adults

      • mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, trauma disorders, personality disorders

    • Current clientele:

      • adults

      • low self-esteem, poor sense of self, trauma, first responders, military personnel, codependency and other relationship difficulties, assertiveness development, identity development, inner-child needs, perfectionists, high achievers, emotionally sensitive, men's issues.

  • Modalities used:

    • trauma-informed

    • mindfulness-based.

    • holistic and somatic

    • humanistic and relational

    • person-centered

    • psychodynamic

    • process and strengths-based

    • compassion-focused

    • yoga-philosophy

    • dialectical behavior therapy

    • cognitive behavioral therapy

  • Read More Here

Why choose Authentically Living Psychological Services for panic attack counseling

We get anxiety! We get how all-consuming it feels and we get how much it sucks. Below we share a small snippet of elements to our therapeutic practice when treating a panic attack, panic disorder, and associated anxieties. For more information on anxiety therapy, click here.

Safety & Validation

Our team at Authentically Living Psychological Services prides itself on the effort and time put into building sound, safe, and compassion-focused rapport. Research shows that the therapeutic relationship is the most important factor in clinical health and success. When it comes to panic attacks, many of us are guilt-ridden and shamed for having an episode for what seems like no apparent reason. Thus, we can truly appreciate the courage it takes to reach out for services, and in being vulnerable.

Self-Understanding

We know you're feeling shameful and embarrassed when it comes to the severity of your anxiety and the recurrence of your panic attacks. A large part of our therapy focuses on improving your self-understanding towards personal growth, self-acceptance, and compassion towards yourself and past life experiences. We strongly advocate for the incorporation of self-care, as the incorporation, in addition to self-understanding has drastic effects on the improved relationship you have with yourself and in the reduction of anxiety, physical symptoms, and panic attacks.

Psychoeducation

To have more understanding and acceptance towards yourself, understanding panic attacks and anxiety is often a critical component. Our therapists take the time to provide education so that individuals learn about panic disorder and why we have panic attacks in the first place. We'll share information about trauma, fight or flight response, agoraphobia, and our nervous system and the role it plays in emotion and mental health.

Awareness of Triggers:

Through our conversations, not only will you learn more about anxiety, but you'll learn more about your feared situations, triggers, and how past experiences and certain situations have affected your body's response to perceived threats.

Contributing Factors

We're on a learning kick! Many conversations will be had about the many possible contributing factors, such as biology, your environment, your response to stress, past traumas, and additional life experiences that not only have contributed to your panic and anxiety but have also maintained and reinforced these reactions.

Emotional Expression

Many of us experience panic attacks because we don't know how to process emotional distress any other way. We weren't given the tools, language, or strategies for how to express our upset in a way that is satisfying, supportive, and validating. Thus, we have learned to hold on to our pains until our body has no other avenue for release besides panic and breakdown.

Strengths-Based

We know we're talking a lot about learning, but we promise you have more skills than you think. Our therapeutic approach focuses on harnessing the strengths you have so that you can navigate stress and anxiety naturally.

Stress Reduction

But when does learning a few more skills hurt us? We'll make sure you are equipped with lots of stress reduction tools, mindfulness techniques, and strategies for you to resort to when times get stressful. You'll have an abundance of tools in your tool chest!

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.

Get the support you need to feel grounded in your day-to-day life.

If you're tired of your anxiety ruling your life and are fed up with not knowing when your panic attacks are going to rear their ugly head, then reach out to our team at Authentically Living Psychological Services. We are anxiety experts and are here to provide psychoeducation, stress reduction techniques, and a space for you to understand the factors that have not only contributed to your worry but have maintained your body's automatic response to fear and worry. While many experiences can cause concern, we do not have to feel stifled by those experiences.

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