How does Counseling Help with Anxiety and Depression?

As we approach National Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week and wrap up Counseling Awareness Month, it's the perfect time to shine a light on the invaluable support that counseling offers to those grappling with these challenges.

In a bustling city like Chicago, we at Pure Health Center want to show you how getting support for anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns can offer you a beacon of safety in these turbulent waters.

Breaking the Stigma: Overcoming Barriers to Counseling

Counseling is not merely a space to vent your frustrations or fears; it's a collaborative journey toward healing and growth. Whether you're struggling with anxiety, depression, or both, counseling offers a safe and non-judgmental environment to explore your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Some may perceive seeking therapy as a sign of weakness or failure, while others fear being judged by friends, family, or society. But honestly, seeking help is one of the bravest, most self-aware things you can do!

Therapy is for everyone who wants to truly know themselves

A fundamental aspect of counseling is self-discovery. Through introspection and guided exploration, you can uncover your strengths, values, and inner resources. A skilled counselor can help you identify and build upon these assets, empowering you to face life's challenges with resilience and confidence.

Whether it's through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness techniques, or narrative therapy, counseling offers a toolkit for self-awareness and personal growth. By honoring your identity and experiences, counseling creates a space where you can feel seen, heard, and valued as you work toward mental and emotional well-being. This is especially true if you’re living with anxiety and depression.

Here are 5 things you might learn in therapy

  1. Understand Triggers: Therapy can help you identify the underlying triggers that exacerbate your anxiety or depression. By recognizing these triggers, you can develop strategies to manage them more effectively and reduce their impact on your mental well-being.
  2. Challenge Negative Thoughts: In therapy, you'll learn how to challenge negative thought patterns and replace them with more balanced and rational perspectives. This cognitive restructuring process can help alleviate symptoms of depression and reduce anxiety by fostering a more positive outlook on life.
  3. Improve Communication Skills: Therapy provides a safe space to practice and improve your communication skills. Whether you struggle with assertiveness, conflict resolution, or expressing your emotions, a counselor can offer guidance and support to help you communicate more effectively in your relationships and daily interactions.
  4. Build Self-Compassion: Many individuals with anxiety and depression struggle with self-criticism and low self-esteem. Therapy can help you cultivate self-compassion and develop a more nurturing and supportive relationship with yourself. By practicing self-compassion, you can cultivate resilience and inner strength in the face of life's challenges.
  5. Create Healthy Boundaries: Establishing healthy boundaries is essential for protecting your mental and emotional well-being. In therapy, you'll learn how to set boundaries that honor your needs and values while respecting the boundaries of others. This skill can help reduce feelings of overwhelm and restore a sense of balance and control in your life.

The pros and cons of getting counseling for anxiety and depression

If you’re feeling more curious or just a big fan of pro-con lists a la Rory Gilmore, we can help with that. We’ve thought a lot about our own relationship with therapy (yep, counselors go to counseling too!) and we’ve come up with some of the upsides and complications you might encounter.


  • Professional Support: Counseling offers the guidance and validation of trained professionals who genuinely care about your well-being and want to support you through your struggles.
  • Effective Coping Strategies: Through therapy, you can discover practical coping techniques that can make a real difference in managing your anxiety and depression, helping you regain a sense of control over your life.
  • Safe Environment: In counseling, you'll find a sanctuary—a confidential, non-judgmental space where you can express yourself openly and honestly, free from any fear of being judged.
  • Personal Growth: Therapy isn't just about managing symptoms; it's also about personal growth and self-discovery. By exploring your thoughts and feelings with a compassionate guide, you can uncover new insights and perspectives that lead to profound personal growth.


  • Financial Cost: It's true that therapy can be expensive, and financial concerns are valid, especially in this economy. However, many therapists offer flexible payment options, adjustable schedules, or sliding-scale fees to ensure that cost isn't a barrier to getting the help you need. We also take some types of insurance!
  • Time Commitment: Attending therapy sessions regularly does take time and effort, which might feel overwhelming at times, especially if your life is in a busy season. However, it's a valuable commitment to your well-being that can truly change your life if you stay the course.
  • Emotional Discomfort: Therapy can sometimes stir up uncomfortable emotions or memories, but it's important to remember that this discomfort is often a sign of progress and healing.
  • Finding the Right Fit: Finding a therapist who clicks with you may take some time and patience, but it's worth the effort. Building a strong therapeutic relationship is key to getting the most out of counseling.

While we believe that counseling is right for everyone at some point in their lives, the best way to approach your relationship with your mental health is by taking an honest look at the benefits and challenges. Anxiety and depression are difficult to manage, but so are doubt and regret.

If this list has helped you find some clarity in your next steps and you’re ready to start looking for a therapist, we’ve got you covered.

Clinician Highlight: Nikki Diaz and Erik Shookman

Erik Shookman, LCSW, specializes in providing compassionate support and evidence-based therapy for individuals struggling with anxiety and depression. With his expertise in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness techniques, Erik empowers clients to navigate their mental health challenges with resilience and self-awareness.

He also specializes in OCD, addiction, and relationship issues.

Nikki Diaz, LPC, offers specialized counseling services tailored to individuals coping with anxiety and depression. With a holistic approach and expertise in trauma-informed care, Nikki provides a safe and supportive environment for clients to explore their emotions and develop effective coping strategies for improved mental well-being.

Nikki is especially well equipped to support teens, those going through life transitions and trauma.

This National Counseling Month and Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week, we hope you will hold on to the truth that counseling offers a beacon of hope for those grappling with anxiety and depression. Therapy is for everyone, and there's no shame in seeking the support you deserve.

If you're struggling or just ready to heal, don't hesitate to reach out to us today. Your journey toward healing begins with a single step.

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