Chicago Relationship Counseling – How to Manage Your Anxiety

Chicago Relationship Counseling – How to Manage Your Anxiety

November 19, 2014 Uncategorized 0

Chicago Relationship Counseling – How to Manage Your Anxiety

Chicago Relationship Counseling

By:  Robert J. Smith, LCSW

241 Golf Mil Center, Suite 708

Niles, IL 60714

Ph.  (847) 824-8366


Many patients arrive at my office experiencing heart palpitations, negative automatic thoughts, difficulty with concentration, inner nervousness, tingling or numbness in the extremities, hyper- verbal speech, catastrophic thinking, insomnia, and muscular pressure and tension. They may also have little awareness about what or why this is happening to them.

Along with these and other symptoms is a personal story. I like to ask patients to tell me their story because within the story is often a metaphor about themselves, their lives, and the social system in which they live. I listen to the story and ask them questions to clarify the story’s meaning and how the symptoms which they experience fit into a social context. Allowing patients to tell their story can be a way to help them relax, develop trust, and see that I am genuinely interested in them. Sometimes for some people, telling their story is a way to express their distress, their struggle, and their point of view. It is important to first begin with the patient’s point of view. Patient’s perception of their circumstances is what sets into motion the way that they are living. There is an art to connecting with an individual at a very emotionally intimate level. Once there is a discussion about their story, there is an opening to delve deeper into how they formulate their beliefs. There is the ability to build an understanding about their views and a way to validate their feelings. Working with patient’s beliefs is akin to painting a tapestry.

As a Clinical Social Worker and Psychotherapist, I need to be able to connect with patient’s in such a way as to show them that I care about their views no matter how different or unusual they may be. They have already experienced others shaming them by telling them that they don’t make sense, that they should just stop that line of thinking, or that they are a “freak” as one patient recently told me. They are often fearful, distrusting, and guarded early in therapy while trying to defend their person. Sometimes it is possible to re-frame a patient’s experience as “normal” given the stress or trauma they have been experiencing. When that is the case, many patients quickly feel relief instead of wondering if they are “crazy” as one young man recently asked me. Changing one’s views about their experience through re-framing with positive connotation can be a very effective method of treatment. When patients are extremely anxious, interruption of their communication patterns may be an effective intervention that can assist them in shifting their focus to enable them to calm down. An example of interruption of a pattern might be to ask a patient who is speaking in a rambling fashion while looking away from me to stop speaking for a moment, to look at me, and then ask them to speak directly to me. Engaging the patient by asking them to communicate directly to me about what they are experiencing in the present moment, can be very useful in shifting them from their usual disengaged pattern to having a more meaningful connection withme. This positive approach to treatment can assist patients in developing trust, feeling understood, and feeling relief from the anxiety symptoms. Future sessions with the patient may refer back to previous visits and build on the process of forming a meaningful connection. This in turn can diminish anxiety symptoms and lead to the development of a more secure self.

Robert J. Smith, LCSW is a Licensed and Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work with 32 years of clinical experience working with people of all ages. The patients he treats often experience problems with family, marriage, and other relationships, personal and job stress, pain, mental health, coping and managing the stress of medical conditions, and alcohol and substance abuse .

Robert has specialized training in utilizing clinical hypnotherapy for managing stress, anxiety, depression, pain, personal performance, and insomnia. He also holds Fellowship status in psychotherapy, clinical hypnotherapy, and pain management. He is certified in gerontological social work.


Contact Robert now at Chicago Relationship Counseling to schedule your appointment.  Come in together or come in alone.  You can be on the way to healing and building hope in your relationship.


Email: or Ph. (847) 824-8366.