Please read the following information on Anxiety.  It will give you some insight to what Anxiety is and how it presents. 


If you or your child is exhibiting any of the symptoms mentioned below, or you are at all concerned, on how to manage any of the symptoms presented, don't hesitate to seek support.


Research has shown that Psychological support and treatment for anxiety is highly effective, and the earlier it is treated, the better the outcome.  Therefore, please do not hesitate to make an appointment to see Michelle Barratt (Brisbane Clinical Psychologist) at either the Cannon Hill or Toowong practices.  Press on the link above.


What is anxiety?

We must not mistake normal fears or responses to a perceived threat as anxiety. We need these responses to elicit particular behaviours in order to protect ourselves; this is called our survival instinct, for example when we are faced with a dangerous situation, we become highly alert. 


Howver, real anxiety looks and definitely feels very different as reported by people who experience anxiety. Anxiety comes in many different forms, it can be generalised to everything or specific. 


Anxiety can feel so debilitating that it has lead people  to become paralysed with fear and not proceed with all intended action, e.g. soldiers under attack may be so afraid they can’t move to take cover, or public speakers may find they go blank, forget their lines and are rendered speechless, even though their lines are incredibly rehearsed.   Or your anxiety leads you to worry about situations months in advance or long after they have happened.  Under these circumstances people to work through and address it will require professional help.  



Why am I experiencing anxiety? Some people are more predisposed to acquiring anxiety than others.  More often than not it is not caused just by one issue, but invariably by a combinaton of factors which can include the following: 

  • Genetics

  • Family environment

  • Traumatic life experiences.

  • Anxiety sufferers may have unhelpful thinking patterns such as perfectionist standards. .


Do I have an anxiety disorder?

Although experiencing some level of anxiety is normal; to get us moving when we faced by a real threat, it is not normal to experience anxiety to a degree that we struggle to socialise, sleep, cannot stop thinking about a particular issue that it dominates most of our thinking, and experience the shaking of our hands, have and increased heart rate, and sweat without physical exertion.   Real anxiety basically exists when beat and sweating when no physical exersion has been done.  


When to seek treatment?

Fundamentally, if you anxiety is that distressing that it is negatively impacting on your abilty to fully and or effectively function at home, work, school, university or in social settings you will need to seek support.


What are the symptoms of anxiety in reference to:

  • Behavioural Symptoms

  • Cognitive Symptoms

  • Physical Symptoms


Behavioural symptoms of anxiety, e.g.

  • Agitation/restlessness

  • Pacing

  • Pressured speech

  • Fidgeting with ones hands

  • Avoidance of feared situations or objects


Cognitive symptoms of anxiety, e.g.

  • Confusion

  • Inability to concentrate

  • Mind going blank

  • Recurrent thoughts


Physical symptoms of anxiety, e.g.

  • Blushing

  • Sweating

  • Shaking/trembling

  • Dizziness

  • Tachycardia, rapid heartbeat

  • Muscle tension

  • Nausea

  • Numbness or tingling in arms, hands or legs

  • Diarrhea

  • Headaches

  • Butterflies in the stomach


Michelle as a Clinical Psychologist

Michelle worked at the Prince Charles Hospital, Chermside in the Adult Mental Health Outpatient Centre in 2011. This role included developing treatment plans for clients that required a range of trauma counselling who were suffering:

  • Adjustment Disorders,

  • Anxiety Disorders (Acute Stress Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • Family/Relationship Support: Divorce, Family Conflict

  • Psychological or Verbal abuse: Domestic Violence, Child Abuse/Neglect

  • Grief and loss,

  • Depression

  • Addictions: Alcohol


Although, this role focused on supporting the client’s mental health, it also ensured and involved “wrap-around-care” for the client, which meant that Michelle worked within a multi-disciplinary team of psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, other psychologists, and recruitment officers. The best support and care for the client was included in the treatment plan so that the client felt supported, understood and validated on their journey toward eventually achieve their goals.


Additionally, Michelle Barratt has worked with children and adolescents in both the Child and Mental Health Services (CYMHS) in Maroochydore, Sunshine Coast, and at Kids Helpline (KHL) in 2011/2012.


Michelle’s role at CYMHS mainly focused on working with children up to the age of 18, who were diagnosed with a variety of mental illnesses and or struggling behaviourally, psychologically or emotionally within themselves, and or within their family environment.  However, her work as a psychologist endeavored to provide psychological support/interventions not only to her immediate client, but also to her client’s family to improve family functioning, living environments and relationships. Most of all, this role focused on fostering a supportive and validating environment where children, adolescents and young adults could develop a relationship of trust with their psychologists.


Michelle has gained a wealth of experience through working at Kids Helpline (KHL) for a number of years. Her role at KHL has been to foster a therapeutic relationship with children, adolescents and young adults between the ages of 5 to 25 years old. This role exposed Michelle to a wide range of mental health issues and other issues that included supporting:


  • Depression,

  • Anxiety,

  • Panic attacks,

  • Family break-downs (Divorce, Separation, Parent-Child Conflict/Relationship issues, & Blended-family issues)

  • Bullying

  • Peer relationship conflict,

  • Emotional dysregulation,

  • Managing coping with a variety of addictions

  • Eating Disorders

  • Early pregnancy


As well as providing a supportive environment for the clients to be heard, counselling children at KHL also involved not only wrap-around-care for clients, but a duty-of-care. This means that if clients present with any sort of risk to themselves or to others, an immediate risk-assessment was conducted that sought out any issues related to child-abuse, self-harm and or suicide, and related services were then sought to best support the client.


Author: Michelle Barratt

             Brisbane Clinical Psychologist


35 Wondall Road


Qld 4178

Tel: 0401 924 331 

Fax:  (07) 3009 0553


Suite 37, Level 1 Benson House,

No. 2 Benson Street, TOOWONG,

Qld 4066.

Tel: 0411 731 516

Fax: (07) 3009 0075


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Michelle Barratt is a Fellow of the Clinical College at the Australian Psychological Society.