What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a state of apprehension, tension or uneasiness from the anticipation of danger and failure. It is differentiated from fear in that fear is seen as an emotional response to a consciously recognized and usually external threat or danger, whereas the symptoms of anxiety are primarily of an intra-psychic origin. Anxiety is something we anticipate in response to an unknown or unrecognized threat and generally involves disturbing feelings of tension, distress and nervousness. Anxiety, just like depression ranges from the mild to the acute but is debilitating along the whole spectrum.
Often, symptoms of anxiety can occur even when there isn’t a clear sense of imminent threat because anxiety often stems from a fear of fear itself or of some past trauma or experience that overwhelmed or had serious consequences for us at the time. Dr. Claudio Naranjo likens anxiety to a “frozen fear or a frozen alarm before danger that has ceased to threaten (though it continues to be imagined)”.
Social anxiety can be activated by any social situation (agoraphobia) because people fear that they will be judged or criticized or otherwise threatened by other people. There is often doubt in the anxiety sufferer as to whether they have the competency to deal with certain situations.
“They perceive that ‘the control of life and things’ is located outside themselves.” (B. Chestnut)
Specific anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, phobias, post-traumatic stress or acute stress disorder, obsessive compulsive and substance induced disorder, as well as generalized anxiety disorder, have some physical symptoms in common such as a pounding heart, sweating, trembling, shaking and having difficulty breathing. However, the sources of anxiety, just as with depression, have their roots in our ‘family of origin’ and this is where anxiety sufferers need to inquire and seek understanding in order to find relief and resolution.
Treatment for Anxiety
Over the past 10 years there has been a steep incline in the number of people suffering from the effects of depression and anxiety. People are increasingly attending the Hoffman Process to address the causes, not just the symptoms. Every human being and family is challenged for survival during their lives from the normal demands of work, family, habitat and relationships. Facing our own survival causes existential anxiety. If we do not learn how to develop resilience before the demands of our life or find the source of our repeated sense of inadequacy within our conditioning, then anxiety can take control of us instead of us taking control of our lives.
Inter-generational trauma, panic attacks, phobias, addictions and compulsions is a legacy which can be acquired by children, gaining in intensity over many generations unless it is addressed, e.g. Holocaust survivors, refugees, war, natural disasters, etc.
During the Hoffman Process, participants journey back through the generations and are able to find understanding of the source of their anxieties. Resolution is found through being able to grieve for the source of all the suffering and liberation is found through compassion and forgiveness.