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Anxiety Therapy Halifax: Psychologist in Halifax for Anxiety

In recent years, Halifax, Nova Scotia, has seen a significant increase in anxiety levels among its residents, a trend that continued in 2023. One of the main triggers for increased anxiety in Halifax has been financial stress. A report found that two in five people feel stressed or anxious due to inflation and higher interest rates. This financial anxiety is part of a broader national trend, with Canadians affected by inflation showing higher self-rated anxiety (33%) and depression (32%), as well as higher rates of a recent diagnosis of a mental health disorder.

If you or someone you love in Halifax is struggling with anxiety, it's essential to seek help from a qualified Halifax anxiety therapist.

Dr. S. Gerald Hann Psychological Services is a leading provider of anxiety therapy in the area. Dr. Hann has been helping individuals and families cope with anxiety for 30 years, providing them with the tools and techniques to manage their symptoms effectively. He is joined by a team of experienced therapists who specialize in treating anxiety disorders and related mental health conditions.

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion characterized by feelings of worry, unease, or fear. It's our body's natural response to stress or perceived danger. For instance, one might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision.

However, when a person regularly feels disproportionate levels of anxiety, it might become a medical disorder. Anxiety disorders are a category of mental health diagnoses leading to excessive nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worry. These disorders alter how a person processes emotions and behavior, causing physical symptoms and affecting quality of life.

Symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Excessive worrying

  • Feelings of restlessness

  • Irritability

  • Difficulties with concentration

  • Muscle tension

  • Dry mouth

  • Disturbances in sleep patterns

  • Extreme shyness

  • Shortness of breath

What Causes Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety disorders are complex conditions that may be influenced by a variety of factors, such as:

  • Genetics. Anxiety disorders can run in families, suggesting that a combination of genes and environmental stressors can trigger the disorders.

  • Brain Chemistry. Misalignments in certain neurotransmitters, chemicals in the brain that pass signals between nerve cells, can contribute to anxiety disorders.

  • Environmental Factors. Certain life challenges and experiences, such as traumatic events or major stress can trigger anxiety disorders. This could include relationship issues, experiences from childhood, such as exposure to stressful and negative life events, or ongoing stress related to health problems.

  • Personality. Individuals who are shy or get distressed easily in new situations during childhood may have a higher risk of developing an anxiety disorder.

  • Other Mental Health Issues. People with other mental disorders, like depression, may be more likely to have an anxiety disorder. 

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

This disorder is characterized by chronic anxiety, exaggerated worry, and tension, even when there is little or nothing to provoke it. Individuals with GAD often anticipate disaster and may be overly concerned about money, health, family, work, or other issues. They may feel restless, become easily fatigued, have difficulty concentrating, or experience muscle tension.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder involves repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks). Symptoms during a panic attack may include:

  • Palpitations and chest pain

  • Sweating

  • Trembling or shaking

  • Sensations of shortness of breath

  • Fear of dying

  • Feeling of choking

  • Numbness or tingling

  • Chills or hot flashes

  • Nausea or abdominal pains

  • Fear of losing control

  • Feeling detached

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

SAD, also known as social phobia, is characterized by a significant amount of fear, embarrassment, or humiliation in social performance-based situations, to a point where it interferes with normal life or causes great distress. This disorder can manifest in a fear of situations, such as speaking in public, eating in front of others, or meeting new people.

Specific Phobias

A specific phobia is an excessive and persistent fear of a specific object, situation, or activity that is generally not harmful. People with specific phobias are aware that their fear is excessive, but they can't overcome it. Such phobias can include a fear of flying, heights, certain animals, receiving injections, or seeing blood.


This is a fear of places and situations that might cause panic, helplessness, or embarrassment. The individual often fears being outside their home for extended periods, especially where escape could be difficult.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

This is a childhood disorder characterized by anxiety that's excessive for the child's developmental level and related to separation from parents or others who have parental roles. Adults can also experience separation anxiety.

Selective Mutism

Selective mutism is a complex childhood anxiety disorder characterized by a child's inability to speak and communicate effectively in select social settings, such as school and other social situations. These children can speak and communicate in settings where they are comfortable, secure, and relaxed.

Selective mutism affects about 0.8% of children at some point during their lives, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.


The exact cause of selective mutism is not known, but it's believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It's often associated with anxiety disorders, especially social anxiety disorder.

Symptoms of selective mutism may include:

  • Feeling unable to speak

  • Change in behavior

  • Excessive shyness

  • Behavioral traits (inflexible, stubborn, moody, bossy, assertive, and domineering, especially at home)

  • Difficulty speaking to extended family members or close family friends

  • Seem restless, look tense, tremble, blush, or say they have a racing heart and high heart rate, clammy hands, or an upset stomach

Why It's Important to Seek Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

  • Combination of Therapy and Medication. Anxiety disorders should ideally be treated with a combination of psychological therapy and pharmacotherapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is often regarded as the first-line treatment.

  • Delay in Treatment-Seeking. Delays in seeking treatment can lead to worsening symptoms and increased difficulty in managing the disorder. Early intervention is thus crucial.

  • Impact on Daily Activities. Untreated anxiety disorders can significantly impact a person's ability to work, study, and participate in other activities. With appropriate and effective treatment, recovery is possible.

  • Role of CBT. CBT has been found to be highly effective at treating anxiety disorders. It helps individuals manage their feelings of anxiety by changing negative thought patterns and improving coping strategies.

  • Physical and Emotional Exhaustion. Living with an untreated anxiety disorder can lead to physical and emotional exhaustion. Seeking help early can prevent this and improve overall well-being.

  • Importance of Self-Care. In conjunction with professional treatment, self-care plays an important role in managing anxiety symptoms and promoting overall well-being.

  • Effectiveness of Treatment. Certain factors, such as treatment type and comorbid conditions, can influence the effectiveness of anxiety treatment at the individual level.

  • Overcoming Fears. Therapies like CBT can help individuals stop worrying and overcome their fears, making them highly effective for treating anxiety disorders.

  • Treatment Seeking in Comorbid Conditions. Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) often co-occurs with other psychiatric disorders, making treatment-seeking important in these individuals.

Treatments for Anxiety

  • Evidence-Based Treatments. Professionals typically utilize evidence-based treatments (EBT) for anxiety disorders, which have demonstrated efficacy in reducing symptoms and improving patient outcomes.

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT is a commonly used therapy that involves identifying and challenging irrational thoughts and beliefs. It has been found to be effective in treating various anxiety disorders.

  • Treatment-as-Usual (TAU). TAU refers to the standard care provided by mental health professionals, which may include a variety of therapeutic approaches. However, some studies suggest that certain EBTs may outperform TAU in treating anxiety disorders.

  • Collaborative Care Models. In primary care settings, collaborative care models are often employed. Patients typically remain under the care of a primary care physician, while mental health specialists, usually master's level clinicians, provide additional support.

  • Problem-Solving Therapy. This approach involves helping patients identify and implement effective solutions to problems contributing to their anxiety. It is considered effective for depressive and/or anxiety disorders.

  • Therapist-Assisted Online (TAO) Intervention. With the rise of digital technology, online interventions have emerged as an effective approach to treating anxiety. TAO keeps client engagement and therapeutic intensity high, with a fraction of the therapist's time.

What Can You Expect From Your Session?

Anxiety therapy can vary depending on the specific modality used but generally follows a structured process. Here's what you might expect from your session:

1. Initial Assessment

The first step in anxiety therapy is an initial assessment or intake session. This involves a comprehensive evaluation of your symptoms, history, and overall mental health. The therapist will ask about your current concerns, your personal and family mental health history, and any past experiences with therapy.

As your anxiety counselling Halifax professional, Dr. Hann conducts a thorough assessment of your symptoms and personal history to ensure that he develops an evidence-based treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. This initial session sets the foundation for future sessions and helps the therapist understand your unique situation.

2. Goal Setting

After the initial assessment, the therapist will work with you to determine your therapy goals. These objectives should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). They will guide the therapy process.

3. Treatment Plan Development

The counselling therapist will develop a treatment plan based on the assessment and goal-setting. This plan outlines the therapeutic approach that will be used (such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, etc.), the estimated duration of therapy, and the techniques and exercises that may be used.

At Dr. S. Gerald Hann Psychological Services, your anxiety therapist in Halifax ensures your treatment plan is evidence-based, personalized, and involves collaboration between you and the therapist. This helps set realistic expectations for therapy and ensures that you are actively involved in your healing process.

4. Therapeutic Intervention

Therapeutic intervention is where the bulk of the work happens. This is where you will explore your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours related to anxiety. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) may involve challenging negative thought patterns and learning coping strategies.

At our practice, the therapist will use evidence-based techniques and approaches to help you manage your anxiety symptoms and achieve your therapy goals. This may include talk therapy, relaxation techniques, and exposure therapy.

5. Homework Assignments

Most therapists assign "homework" or tasks to complete outside of sessions. This helps reinforce what you've learned in therapy and encourages you to apply new strategies in real-life situations.

6. Regular Review and Modification

Therapy is an ongoing process that requires regular review and modification. Your therapist will periodically check in with you to assess your progress toward your goals and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

7. Termination

Once you've met your therapy goals, you and your therapist will discuss the end of therapy. This usually involves reviewing what you've learned, discussing future challenges, and a plan for maintaining your gains.

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Overcome Anxiety With Dr. S. Gerald Hann Psychological Services in Halifax

We work with our clients to create lasting change.

Everyone experiences anxiety at some point, but if it starts to interfere with your daily life, it's time to seek help. We understand it takes courage to admit the presence of an issue and even more to venture into the recovery journey. But with our anxiety therapist Halifax expert, Dr. S. Gerald Hann, you don't have to walk that path alone. We are here to guide you through the challenges, teach you healthy coping strategies, and celebrate the victories with you. 

Contact us today to schedule your consultation!



Dr. S. Gerald Hann

Halifax Professional Centre

5991 Spring Garden Road, Suite 585

Halifax, Nova Scotia

B3H 1Y6

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