by Aaron Potratz, LPC
Anxiety is a pervasive and often debilitating condition that affects millions of people around the world. It can manifest in various forms, from generalized anxiety disorder to social anxiety, panic attacks, and more. While anxiety can have multiple causes, one often-overlooked factor is the role of identity. Your understanding of who you are, your self-worth, and your purpose can significantly impact your anxiety levels. In this blog post, we’ll explore how addressing identity issues through counseling can help alleviate anxiety and guide you to discover your true self in Christ.
Understanding the Connection Between Identity and Anxiety
Before delving into the therapeutic aspects, it’s essential to understand the connection between identity and anxiety. Our sense of self, often shaped by our life experiences, influences our thought patterns, behaviors, and emotional responses. When this self-identity is rooted in insecurity, self-doubt, or negative beliefs, it can contribute to anxiety disorders.
Common identity-related issues that may lead to anxiety include:
- Low Self-Esteem: Feeling unworthy or inadequate can fuel anxious thoughts and behaviors, such as perfectionism or constant self-criticism.
- Social Comparison: Comparing oneself to others and feeling inferior can lead to social anxiety and a fear of judgment or rejection.
- Lack of Purpose: Not knowing one’s purpose or feeling disconnected from it can create a sense of existential anxiety.
- Imposter Syndrome: Believing that you are a fraud or that your achievements are undeserved can lead to constant anxiety about being exposed.
- Unresolved Trauma: Past traumatic experiences can shatter one’s sense of self and safety, contributing to anxiety disorders.
The Role of Christian Counseling
Christian counseling offers a unique approach to addressing anxiety by integrating faith into the therapeutic process. It acknowledges that our identity is deeply intertwined with our relationship with Christ. Here’s how Christian counseling can help you discover your true self in Christ and alleviate anxiety:
1. Biblical Foundation: Christian counselors use biblical principles to guide their therapy. They help clients explore their identity through the lens of God’s Word, emphasizing that they are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and created for a purpose (Jeremiah 29:11).
2. Realigning Beliefs: Counseling helps individuals recognize and challenge negative thought patterns and beliefs that contribute to anxiety. It assists in replacing them with biblical truths about one’s worth and identity in Christ.
3. Healing from Past Wounds: Christian counseling incorporates forgiveness and healing as essential components. Clients are encouraged to forgive themselves and others, releasing the burdens of shame, guilt, and resentment.
4. Spiritual Growth: Counselors support individuals in deepening their faith and relationship with God. This growth can provide a profound sense of security, purpose, and identity rooted in Christ, which is an antidote to anxiety.
5. Coping Strategies: Christian counseling equips individuals with practical coping strategies, such as prayer, meditation, and Scripture memorization, to manage anxiety in alignment with their faith.
Case Study: Sarah’s Journey
Sarah, a young woman in her mid-30s, struggled with debilitating social anxiety. She avoided social gatherings, networking events, and even church gatherings due to her fear of being judged and rejected. In counseling, she began to explore the root causes of her anxiety.
Sarah discovered that her identity had been shaped by years of bullying during her adolescence. She had internalized the cruel words of her peers, leading to low self-esteem and social anxiety. Her counselor helped her challenge these negative beliefs and guided her in aligning her identity with her faith.
As Sarah delved into Scripture and prayer, she found comfort in the knowledge that she was a beloved child of God. Her counselor encouraged her to attend a local Christian support group, where she began building connections with like-minded individuals. Over time, Sarah’s social anxiety lessened, and she started participating in church events and community activities.
Anxiety and identity are intricately linked, and addressing identity issues through Christian counseling can be a transformative journey. Discovering your true self in Christ involves aligning your beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors with biblical truths. It’s a process of healing, self-discovery, and spiritual growth that can lead to profound anxiety relief and a newfound sense of purpose and peace. If you’re struggling with anxiety, consider seeking Christian counseling to embark on this journey of self-discovery and healing in the loving embrace of your faith.
Get Support With Christian Anxiety Counseling in Hillsboro, OR, and Beyond
Our Christian counselors in Portland, Oregon are here to support you and your relationship, wherever you are in Oregon. At Life Discovery Counseling we can help you and your partner have a balanced marriage with Christian couples therapy. When you are ready to start, follow these simple steps:
- Find out more about our dedicated therapists in Beaverton and our understanding counselors in Clackamas
- Schedule an appointment with your preferred counselor, or reach out to us with questions
- Start learning how to have a quiet mind and calm heart
Other Mental Health Services at Life Discovery Counseling in Oregon
If you are in Portland, Clackamas, Happy Valley, Damascus, Hillsboro, or Beaverton, we can help you in person at one of our comfortable therapy clinics. Christian counseling is the cornerstone of our approach to therapy. Not only do we see adults, but children in counseling too. We also work with depression treatment, anxiety therapy, trauma therapy and PTSD treatment, relationship issues, marriage problems, and postpartum counseling. No matter where you are in the state, we can provide the support you need with online therapy in Oregon. Once you’re ready to start, we’re ready to meet you. Let’s connect!
About the Author
Aaron Potratz is Co-Owner of Life Discovery Counseling Services, and a Licensed Professional Counselor. He supervises the counseling staff, writes occasionally for the blog, and provides trainings.