Comments: 363 • Responses: 26  • Date: 

Xanthyria335 karma

Why aren’t you a therapist?

It sounds like you’re working a career as a therapist, without the extensive training or liability components.

HerrMencus167 karma

Can’t speak for OP, but in my experience many coaches chose that path because it allows them to skip getting a masters degree, 2000 hours of supervised training and having to pass a rigorous licensing exam. Not to mention ongoing ethical and clinical training for as long as we practice.

OP might, individually, be decent or even excellent at helping someone cope with anxiety. But, in my state at least, it would be illegal for him/her to advertise as such because treating a mental health disorder requires a license and oversight. That said, I certainly wouldn’t shit on ‘Coaching’ overall ... it can be a very helpful adjunct to qualified treatment for several disorders but most prominently ADHD and depression.

j_mitso4 karma

This is basically true. All clients sign paperwork understanding that I do not diagnose nor treat mental illness. As such, I'm not looking at anxiety as a disorder. I'm viewing it as a natural response to carrying a belief that I am not worthwhile and may be rejected by those around me at any time. My work focuses on addressing and changing that belief.

j_mitso1 karma

Good question.

The bottom line is that I'm not approaching anxiety as an illness. Coaching practices share a lot with certain counseling, especially cognitive behavioral therapy, but we do not diagnose nor treat mental illness. Some clients respond really, really well to this. I usually get clients who failed to find success in therapy and, for different reasons, thrive in a coaching framework. I can go more into this if you want, but that's the main difference.

I'm not here to advocate for coaching as a replacement for counseling. I'm don't. I like counselors and have sent prospective clients to counselors if I felt they needed it instead. If you're in the middle of a life or death situation, go see a counselor. But if you're trying to shake a chronic low-level fear that you can't seem to shake, coaching may be an option if you've already tried therapy and want to try something else.

You're right that coaches have less training and aren't as liable. To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of this. I'm part of a minority that would like some regulation built in here, but there's nothing at the moment. There's pros and cons to this.

sc2bigjoe14 karma

How do you know if you’re dealing with anxiety or just going through a tough time?

j_mitso8 karma

THIS IS SUCH A GOOD QUESTION!!! Thank you for it!

This is what's hard about working with anxiety - it's a natural human emotion that is part of life. Everyone will feel anxious at different points in time. It's healthy and good. If we were to try to get to a point of zero anxiety, that would be a problem that would likely lead us down a path that would likely hurt us. Appropriate anxiety is the goal.

The traditional way of dealing with this is to ask how long it's been going on for and how it is impacting your life. Generally, if it's getting to the point where you think you need some help, it's probably a good idea.

Clients come to me when they've had a fear that they have not been able to shake no matter what they do. They're stuck in a lose-lose situation. They usually have some sort of a personal, meaningful goal that they want to achieve...but they are too afraid to act on it or show themselves vulnerably to the world. By the time they meet me, it's gotten to the point where they feel like they're constantly at war with two parts of themselves - the part that wants to express and be seen, and the part that wants to stay safe.

I'm not sure if this was a helpful answer. I'd likely investigate to see if you have a healthy self-image or if you're expressing a lot of self-criticism and self-destructive tendencies. If you have a healthy self-image while you're going through your struggles, I'd say that you're probably closer to just having a hard time. Those I work with are usually at war with themselves.

redditmodsareniqqers8 karma


j_mitso11 karma

I was going to respond to this until I saw your username. Thank you for your input but I've responded to this elsewhere.

eternalquiet7 karma

I have been anxious pretty much all of my life. My first panic attack was when I was 7. We didn't know it was a panic attack at the time, but looking back I recognize it for what it was. That anxiety has been with me all through elementary, middle, and high school. Through college, and graduate school, and now in my job.

The biggest thing I struggle with is letting small mistakes feel catastrophic. A simple mistake at work can send me into a spiral where I am sure my bosses hate me and are disappointed in my work and want to fire me. I then go down this thought path where, I'm sure I'm going to be fired, I won't be able to pay rent, I'll be evicted from my apartment, I'll be homeless, and I'll die in the cold on the street. Sometimes there doesn't even have to be a mistake I've made, sometimes it's just like...a look on my boss's face. All these things I imagine to be problems that never really turn out to be problems, but I can't stop imagining the worst.

So...like, I guess...how do I not?

j_mitso0 karma

If you're having regular panic attacks you probably need to talk to a therapist instead of a coach.

With that being said, the issue you're bringing up is fairly common and one I've experienced as well. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a great tool for this, as it will train you to reevaluate external situations in a more honest light. There's tons of CBT material out there. I'm a fan of the book "Self-Coaching for Anxiety and Depression", but working with someone would be your best move.

In addition to that, exploring a meditative practice - such as meditation or yoga - may help you build space and stop immediately reacting to everything around you. Hope this helped!

RefusedBarf5 karma

How do you stop anxiety from ruling your life?

j_mitso-1 karma

This is one of those questions that is really simple to ask but requires a more in-depth response. There's a lot of ways I could answer it. Since I don't know how anxiety is specifically impacting you I'll start with some of the basics I'd discuss with a new client.

For me, 'ruling my life' would mean that I feel like anxiety controls the way I behave. The shortest answer I could give on how to approach this is to work on learning how to respond to life instead of react to it. In other words, learn how to make space.

The gold standing in developing this practice is in adopting a meditative practice of some sort. I often refer to meditation as the 'art of non-reaction.' We can be present with something, observe it, experience it...but still maintain control over the way we behave and the decisions we make.

My best analogy is to think of it like the clutch on a car. W need empty space to shift gears. The more empty space we can make - meaning, the more we can be present with fear, discomfort, etc., without giving into our habitual reactions to them - the more control we have over our life and our choices.

Hopefully this was somewhat helpful!

_dokeeg_3 karma

What are some tips to combat chronic anxiety? I’m a student so I’m always stressed about upcoming tests and class deadlines. Counselling is provided but there’s a stigma among friends about seeking help. How do you get past this?

j_mitso8 karma

Counselling is provided but there’s a stigma among friends about seeking help

You'd be surprised at how many people work with coaches specifically because we aren't counselors. It's sad, to be honest. Our society has such a stigma against getting help that it hurts us in the long run. Yet I'm no better - I avoided addressing my issues until it literally became a life or death situation. I really, really do not advise that. Our job is to take care of ourselves and address the needs we have in our lives. Screw everyone else. If you need help, go get it. The unknown fear is the worst. Facing it directly, especially with an ally, is a powerful way to not only address these issues but also build confident.


The way I'm reading your question, you're looking for a long-term response - not coping tips. If so, I like that, because that's my angle too. I can't give you a perfect answer because I don't know you personally, but if I had to take a guess, I'd first look to investigate if you are routinely putting your self-worth on the line with all that you do. If you are - and most everyone I work with is - you're going to experience anxiety. There's almost no way around it. Keeping something that valuable constantly exposed to the ups and downs of life will always put us in an anxious self-protective state. The goal, then, is to internalize it. Ideally we want to foster a sense of intrinsic worth - your value as a human is part of your birthright. You can't 'gain' any more worth because you already have it. You're not here to find your worth, you're here to express it. The road towards achieving this, however, can take a bit of work!

Hopefully that helps. I know I took a shot in the dark here, so f your issue is something else, I'm happy to try and give a better answer!

Dr_Correlate2 karma

I always hear about how insecurities are in your head mainly but what about external characteristics that people commonly bring up when you meet them? What kind of therapy would exist for those when the world actually does confirm/validate their insecurities?

j_mitso2 karma

Life will always find a way to confirm our fears and insecurities. That's just part of living. The goal isn't to live a 'safe' life where we avoid such conflicts, but rather (at least in my opinion), find a way to experience them without them taking over and internalizing them.

There's a difference between hitting a situation and saying "I made a mistake" vs. "I am a mistake." The latter is what I help people work towards, as we're focused on addressing the belief that they are worthless and may be rejected by others at any time.

The overall format I try to use when working with someone is to help them cultivate a positive relationship with themselves. Think of someone you love who has gone through a tough time that has caused them to be super hard on themselves. Think of the words you would say and the tone you would say them in. How different is that from the way you routinely engage with yourself?

Xtremee1 karma

Hey. Thank you for this AMA.

I feel like I am experiencing one of the worse episode of anxiety ever. Its so bad that I will not be able to speak if there's a person in room. I can't get myself out of the house. I have great trouble asking for simple things like, let's say if I'm in best buy, I couldn't ask the employee 'where is the laptop section?'. Things like these are so annoying and I feel hopeless.

It's growing worse as I'm growing old. What causes this? How do I live a normal life?


j_mitso1 karma

Hmm. I really want to be able to provide you with a useful answer, but I'd need a bit more information to do so. Are you currently in any sort of therapy, and if so, have you uncovered anything that seems to trigger these episodes? If you're not in therapy, is there any pattern you've seen on when your anxiety is at its peak?

Lancair041 karma

What’s your recommendation for dealing with a hypercritical professional services work environment? I’m a lawyer, and while I get good feedback and recognition in the workplace, I find it really hard to back myself and feel confident in my work when every day it’s corrected, edited, criticized etc. I realize rationally this is the process everyone’s work product goes through and if I was actually bad at my job I wouldn’t get the good feedback I do, but I would like to feel better and more confident about my work.

j_mitso-1 karma

So if I'm reading this right, you're basically telling me that externally you're getting positive feedback on your work but you're internally critical of yourself no matter what - is that what you mean?

cracksilog-1 karma

What can someone say or do to convince themselves they’re enough?

j_mitso-10 karma

The shortest answer I can give is to ask yourself how you would treat someone you cared about and start to treat yourself the same way. Approaching the issue of being 'enough' as a relationship issue has gotten me the most success with clients. At the end of the day, improving the relationship we have with ourselves isn't that different from how we improve relationships with others. Kindness, compassion, consistently showing up, forgiveness...starting small and building up. What would you eat for dinner tonight if you want to take care of yourself? When would you go to sleep? Life is made up of the small stuff, and in my experience, relationships are made up of the small stuff. It's a process that takes time. I tried to say a lot in a short bit, so I hope this was somewhat helpful.

37MySunshine37-1 karma

As a high school teacher, what strategies do you have for me to better emotionally prepare my seniors for college?

j_mitso-2 karma

Thank you for your work. I remember my high school teachers well and they had a big impact on my life. If you're asking this, I can only assume that you're a similar teacher. Thank you.

I can't give a cookie cutter answer. The primary thing I can say is to know it's going to be different. Most students I deal with were good students in high school and are successful college students, at least on paper, so I can't offer study tips or anything like that. I guess the biggest thing I could suggest would be to tell them that they don't need anxiety as a coping mechanism to survive. The more they can approach challenges from a place of feeling grounded, the better. Problems are there to be worked through. There is a difference between 'I failed to achieve my goal' and 'I'm a failure as a person'. They don't need to be confused.

jdb888-19 karma

As a supervisor with hiring authority how can I recognize the signs that a candidate is struggling with anxiety and likely won't have the resilience to succeed in our high pressure, high profile workplace?

j_mitso3 karma

This is a really, really hard question to answer.

The only thing I'll say is that there is an assumption in your question that anxious individuals would falter in a high pressure/high profile workplace. This may or may not be true. I used to work in emergency services, and disasters felt like home to me. I got more relaxed when things were high pressure and the world went away. I have many clients who are the same way and prefer high-stress situations to calming ones because they feel more comfortable. As one told me, "If I don't have a real disaster to fix, I'll usually create one."

At the same time, however, there were others who cracked under those situations. Unfortunately, it's not a one size fits all. I wish I had a good answer for you but I don't. If I can think of something better to respond with I'll come back to this. But my short answer now is to just explain the situation to them, explain the stresses, and really make sure that they aren't just giving you placating "yea that sounds good!" answers, but rather ones where they say, "yea, I thrive in those environments." That's the best I got for now.