Anxiety is the most common and treatable of all mental health conditions, despite the fact that it is one of the most uncomfortable and distressing. It is perhaps the most common reason why people attend my Downtown Vancouver therapy office.

One of the things that excites me most about helping with anxiety is that there are many possible solutions, depending on your symptoms, condition and situation. Options are a good thing.  And the ultimate solution, however, is to face whatever is making you anxious. While this knowledge can be liberating, it is often terrifying for people. It is normal to need support.

If your anxiety is longstanding and entrenched take heart: Some of the best gains I have seen in counselling are among people who have “hit bottom” with regard to their anxiety and are willing and motivated to undertake therapy. With anxiety treatment, the more you put into your homework outside of sessions, the more you can expect to get out of it.

I generally utilize Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT),a research-based method for treating specific anxiety symptoms, unless my clients are seeking a different therapeutic approach. Depending on the symptoms you are experiencing, we may choose from several or most of the following CBT techniques:

  • Cognitive Restructuring – Challenging thinking patterns which feed anxiety and replacing them with realistic thoughts about your situation.
  • Alternative Perspectives –Learning new ways of thinking about and conceptualizing your difficulties.
  • Self-Refection – Increasing your awareness with regard to your own thoughts, feelings and behaviours about your situation: In order to change, we first need to identify the targets for change.
  • Behavioural Techniques – Learning specific actions you can take to manage your anxiety.  A common scenario would be learning techniques that you can apply in the moment to help reduce or eliminate panic attacks.  Therapy also includes follow through with regard to your progress, and making adjustments to the therapeutic plan as needed.
  • Graduated Exposure – rating the situations that make you anxious, from lowest to highest and then starting by facing the ones that make you least anxious while at the same time learning relaxation strategies (see below). We never progress to the next challenge until you feel completely comfortable with the current one you are working on.
  • Relaxation Strategies to regulate your anxiety, particularly when you start to face situations that make you anxious.
  • Lifestyle Considerations – regulating your general stress level: choosing healthy outlets which relieve anxiety, such as exercise, sleep, emotional support, prioritizing decisions and commitments.  For those that want to minimize the effects of alcohol, caffeine, smoking and other drug use, we look at these factors too.
  • Homework – testing the situations that make you anxious “in the field” outside of the office; taking notes, measuring results, etc.  I often approach homework as an “experiment” to help you to determine whether the interventions are working for you.

An important aspect of the therapy is continuing with it between sessions.  Not only do you get more value for your “therapeutic dollar,” you test what strategies are working and which ones are less successful, allowing us to streamline the therapeutic approach to meet your needs.

I also use mindfulness therapy and meditation practice as a complement to CBT.  In particular, I parter with you to learn to cope with distressing and acutely uncomfortable anxiety (and related emotions and thoughts) as they arise.  This is done by learning to radically accept whatever is arising in the mind or body—neither holding on to thoughts or feelings, nor pushing them away.  This may be a simple concept, but it can be difficult to implement!  Practice, practice, and more practice is needed on an ongoing basis. For those who want to establish a regular meditation practice, we can look at how to implement this too.  I feel so strongly about mindfulness and meditation that I employ it on a daily basis in my own life.

I look forward to meeting you and partnering with you on your journey of recovery. Call or email me if you have questions or would like to set up an appointment.  I look forward to hearing from you!

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Recommended Books

The book links on this page are Amazon Associate links; if you choose to make a purchase through them, I may earn a small commission which I use to fund my low-cost counselling resource lists. Your support is greatly appreciated.

How To Keep House While Drowning: A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing by KC Davis (2022)

While Marie Kondo taught me to let go of a lot, KC Davis helped me to forgive myself, no matter the state of my home. A boon to neurodivergent folks, those struggling with mental health issues, or anyone else who is overwhelmed by life, therapist KC Davis, offers practical, forgiving strategies and care tasks that we can all use. Highly recommended.

Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide To Reclaiming Yourself by Nedra Glover Tawwab (2021)

This book has emerged as a prominent and popular choice for those who wish to better understand emotional boundaries and co-dependency. Straightforward and practical.

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund Bourne (2010)

A best-selling self-help workbook using the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help with generalized anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, social anxiety and other anxiety-related conditions. Best for those with an interest in CBT who also have an affinity for exercises and homework.

The Assertiveness Workbook by Randy Patterson (2022)

This book was first written when there was very little on the market to help with assertiveness skills. This practical workbook for understanding and improving assertiveness is now in its 2nd edition.

Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt (2006)

Children’s book with excellent adult appeal. The story about how a squirrel inadvertently faces his fears, with positive results.


9-8-8 Suicide Crisis Helpline

Call or text 9-8-8, from anywhere in Canada, 24/7.

Discovery College – Canadian Mental Health Association

A wealth of free online mental-health related courses, developed in conjunction with people who have lived experience.


Online non-profit initiative from Queen’s University to help the public learn non-drug treatments for insomnia, primarily Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I).

Pomodoro Technique

How to use the pomodoro technique: a time-management strategy.

Anger – A Self-Help Guide by Moodjuice

A self-help and educational guide about anger, from the counselling department at McGill University.

Vancouver Low-Cost Counselling List

List of private master’s-level counsellors, or their interns, offering subsidized counselling. Updated quarterly.

Nurses Line – Health Link BC

Call 8-1-1 to speak with a registered nurse 24/7. Other professionals available through this line include after-hours pharmacists, exercise professionals and dieticians

Kelty’s Key Online Therapy

Free, self-directed online cognitive behavioural therapy.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

Web-based learning of DBT skills. Particularly useful for those without access to individualized programming, or to supplement an existing group DBT program.

Crisis Services and Hotlines in Vancouver

Resource list, updated quarterly.

Bounce Back Program

Telephone coaching for people with mild-moderate depression with or without accompanying anxiety. Coaching available in English, Cantonese, French and Punjabi. Family doctor’s referral required to access this program. Free.

Mind Shift CBT

App developed by the folks at Anxiety Canada to help manage anxiety symptoms and promote relaxation.

Reduced-Cost Counselling [PDF]

A resource list of lower-cost professional counselling options in Vancouver. Corrections and suggestions welcome.

Canada’s Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines

Revised in January 2023.

Mood Gym

Online self-help program for depression and anxiety, using cognitive behavioural principles (CBT).

Relaxation Audio Download

From the people at Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction (CARMHA). Scroll down for link.

Canadian Mental Health Association

National organization promoting mental health for all.

Vancouver Access and Assessment Centre (AAC)

604-675-3700 – Joseph and Rosalie Segal Centre, Vancouver Hospital, Level 1, East Entrance

7 days a week: 7:30am-11pm. Phone, walk-in and outreach support for urgent, non life-threatening mental health and addictions issues. Response times vary. Serves residents of Vancouver.

Anxiety Canada

National organization providing information and extensive online resources for managing anxiety.

Here to Help

BC-based website offering comprehensive information on a wealth of mental health conditions and addictions concerns.


24-7 crisis service for anyone that is suicidal, thinking about suicide or for concerned friends/family. BC-wide service.

SAFER, Vancouver Coastal Health

Time-limited counselling support for adults who have made a suicide attempt, or are experiencing suicidal thoughts; also offers support and education for people who are concerned about a loved one with suicidal ideation, or are grieving their loss by suicide.

Coping With Suicidal Thoughts

Self-help guide (pdf). Not intended to replace professional help.