Sarah SteventonAnxiety Specialist & Psychotherapist
Warwick, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
Warwickshire Specialist Anxiety Centre

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Warwickshire Specialist Anxiety Centre

Warwickshire Specialist Anxiety Centre is headed up by Psychotherapist Sarah Steventon.

Sarah is a specialist in psychopathology, she has a background in Neuroscience, and is one of the UK's leading experts in anxiety disorders.

"This style of working isn’t about giving advice or talking things through – this is about creating fast and effective change, utilising the brain's ability to rewire itself, known at neuroplasticity, to achieve the desired change."

This unique style of working offers one of most effective methods of therapy available today and works to treat anxiety conditions, such as Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Health Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Panic Attacks, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Phobic Response Patterns (Phobias)

So what is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal, but unpleasant, part of life, and it can affect us all in different ways, and at different times.

The reason you are not able to control anxiety, is that it is caused by the part of the brain that kicks off the fight and flight response without you even being aware. It is all to do with the speed in which your brain operates. This is why most traditional therapy cannot help with anxiety.

Most traditional therapy, such as Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are just talking therapies. So if you went to a CBT therapist, for example, they would look to try and help you manage your anxiety. They are only working with the logical, rational part of the brain - the Prefrontal Cortex, but unfortunately that part of the brain is not where anxiety is formed. If you want to stop anxiety, you need to work with a completely different area within the brain, where the feelings of anxiety actually start from.

A CBT Therapist just tries to help you break down your problems into their separate parts, and then analyse these areas, with a view to helping you see how unrealistic they are. Obviously most people find this unhelpful - as they already know how irrational or unrealistic their feelings are - and this does not help to change how you feel.

If the brain was set up this way, you would be able to stop the anxiety yourself.

When we think about the brain and how it is structured anatomically, traditional therapy, such as CBT, is what we would term a 'top down' method, however anxiety requires a therapy that works 'bottom up' - and this is the way Sarah works.

Anxiety happens when a part of the brain, called the Amygdala, senses trouble.

Pathways in the brain have both fast and slow circuits. One area of the brain that sorts out our sensory information coming from the outside world is called the Thalamus. However the Sensory Thalamus provides only a crude perception of the world, because the neural links are so direct it makes for a fast pathway. Why might FAST be important? We need a quick reaction to potential danger. The Thalamus—Amygdala pathway provides us with this and may also prepare the Amygdala to receive more highly processed information from the cortex (the logical, rational part if you like).

The slow pathways from the cortex offer detailed and accurate representations of the environment. Because these pathways have multiple neural links they are slow by comparison.

If for example we see a slender curled shape behind a tree its much better to jump back and later recognize its a garden hose than to fail to quickly jump back if it were a snake. There is plenty of time later to reflect that it was foolish to be startled by our garden hose!

Anxiety is something that can persist whether or not the cause is clear to the sufferer. This can cause severe physical symptoms, such as chest pain that can feel like you are having a heart attack, though to psychological distress in the case of OCD, where you feel compelled to perform tasks or something dreadful might happen, or worse still that you may do something awful.

Anxiety can make a person imagine that things in their life are worse than they really are, and it can spread, so that it ends up impacting on all areas of someone's life. Often someone will think they are going mad, or that some psychological imbalance is at the heart of their issue.

The 'fight and flight' mechanism, is useful is a survival situation, as are the bodily functions that come with it, and it has existed in us from our caveman days. Back then, we were equipped with an internal alarm system designed to protect us from the dangers surrounding us in the wild. This system would make us hyper-alert by giving us a boost of adrenaline that would increase the heart rate and boost the amount of oxygen going to our limbs so we were better able to fight or run from danger.

The “butterflies in the stomach” feeling that many associate with anxiety is this mechanism kicking in, but instead of being used to avoid immediate danger, it is often wrongly and inappropriately activated in a person during normal, everyday situations when stress has built up, often unknowingly.

Some people have a very identifiable cause for their anxiety, so they can pinpoint their triggers - such as travelling on a motorway, or having to meet new people, or speaking in public.

Some of the most common anxiety is health anxiety. This can be exhausting, and very distressing as someone consistently feels that there is something wrong with them. Having Health Anxiety can mean you start to worry that a headache is a brain tumour and any pain means that there is something seriously wrong with them.

Most of the time what has caused this is either a health scare, that turned out to be nothing, but the brain is still in 'fight and flight' mode. Or even hearing about other people becoming ill can cause you to become anxious it will happen to you. Either way it is easily fixable.

Anxiety tends to spread, so it is always advisable to deal with it as soon as possible. Use the contact page to book your session and get things sorted.


Am I having a Panic Attack?

Have I got Anxiety? What is an Anxiety attack?

These are some of the common physical symptoms of anxiety are:

Increased heart rate
Increased muscle tension
“Jelly legs”
Tingling in the hands and feet
Hyperventilation (over breathing)
Difficulty in breathing
Wanting to use the toilet more often
Feeling sick
Tight band across the chest area
Tension headaches
Hot flushes
Increased perspiration
Dry mouth
Choking sensations

You may on occasion experience a panic attack - which can feel like any of the following:

Thinking that you may lose control and/or go “mad”
Thinking that you might die
Thinking that you may have a heart attack
Feel sick and like you might faint
Feeling that people are looking at you and observing your anxiety
Feeling as though things are speeding up/slowing down
Feeling detached from your environment and the people in it
Feeling like wanting to run away/escape from the situation
Feeling on edge and alert to everything around you

Unfortunately, once you have one panic attack, it can then produce a run of them, just because of how the brain works, however the good news is Panic Attacks can be sorted out fairly simply.

Sarah is able to work with her clients to neutralise the feeling of anxiety or panic. 'Anxiety is not something you should have to manage - so this is not 'anxiety management'. I am able to work with my clients to actually alleviate the anxiety, and stop it in it's tracks.

She is experienced in dealing with clients experiencing panic attacks along with all other Anxiety conditions, such as:

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Panic Attacks
Panic Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Phobias of any kind including Agoraphobia, Claustrphobia, Fear of Flying, Fear of public speaking
Health Anxiety - constantly worrying you have something wrong with you
Social Phobia/Social Anxiety

Anxiety medication can actually sometimes exacerbate the symptoms and ironically, some medications have side effects of anxiety.

Sarah works with some of the most successful and proven methods to deal with all types of anxiety behaviour, ranging from unpleasant feelings to full blown panic attacks, and unnecessary worrying to over-thinking. To find out more about the therapy, and how the process works, please refer to the tab on the main page listed 'The process and neuroscience behind it'.

If you are suffering with Anxiety, please get in touch by completing your details on the contact page and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

Sarah works from both her consulting room in Warwick and her Harley Street practice in London.

Anxiety Treatment / Anxiety Therapist / Generalised Anxiety Disorder

What can cause Anxiety?

Anxiety problems arise because of chronic levels of stress. Stress is any pressure or accumulation of pressures - physical or psychological, that becomes too much for a person to cope with comfortably, so it is really what any person perceives as stress for them as an individual, so of course this will vary from person to person.

The right amount of stress can actually be a positive experience, which may sound strange at first, but it can help to push us, challenge us, motivate us, help us to stay focussed and it can even energise us.

However, different amounts of stress affect people differently, and when stress takes it toll, it can affect many different areas of your life. Whether it be relationships, mood, health, productivity or your ability to focus on things, even daily life can seem difficult when we are overly stressed.

Often, it is the situations to which we are committed and have no real control which cause us the most difficulty with anxiety – public speaking, leading team meetings, face to face sales or a big pitch to a client are all typical examples of situations in which we feel trapped and unable to take control.

The physical response of stress is a very normal one, and it is our defence mechanism which is intending to protect us from harm, but often too much stress can tip us over into what we call ‘survival mode’, which in turn can trigger our fight or flight response.

Work deadlines, a difficult boss, being stuck in a traffic jam, or missing one of your children's school events, are all very stressful, but unfortunately the part of our brain which gives the direction to set off the 'fight and flight' response, is not able to distinguish between events like this, and those that really are life threatening.

If you are suffering with anxiety you will know all about the fight or flight response, and if you don’t, you can be sure that you have experienced it first-hand. Some common effects of the fight or flight response are, butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms, shortness of breath, shaking of limbs, palpitations.

People will respond to stress in different ways, and it can manifest itself in different ways too, which can be in the form of an anxiety disorder.

Unfortunately many of the usual therapies are not able to help with anxiety disorders as they only work on a cognitive level.

Therapy such as CBT - which stands for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or any form of counselling give little or no effect for anxiety disorders.

This is due to the fact that CBT and other forms of counselling, works only with the cognitive rational part of the brain – and as people experiencing anxiety will know, anxiety and OCD is very definitely not rational. They are fully aware that the feelings they have, or the acts they are driven to perform are not logical and they are something they can control, so being told by a therapist to think about it in a different way is totally useless - and extremely frustrating for them.

Anxiety, in all forms, whether general anxiety, social anxiety, health anxiety, or OCD, is created in a different part of the brain. It is a part of the brain that responds in lightening speed, it is so fast it responds prior to the conscious rational part of the brain gets involved.

This is the part of the brain we work work. Using very simple, but cutting edge, techniques that are in keeping with the most recent findings in neuroscience, we are able to work to neutralise anxiety and can make changes often instantaneously.

Stopping those feelings of anxiety before they happen, so you don't need to try to learn techniques or coping mechanisms or distractions methods, because you will no longer experience the feeling or thought in the first place.

All this can happen in a relatively quick time-frame too - so you are not in therapy for months on end.

Anxiety can manifest itself in many different ways, so you may be suffering with Generalised anxiety Disorder (GAD) - which can have lots of psychological and physical symptoms. Or you maybe having panic attacks and been told you have 'Panic disorder'.

Phobias are actually a form of anxiety, or an anxiety disorder, which might seem strange, but its true. Phobias can actually be dealt with very quickly and effectively.


One of the most debilitating forms of Anxiety is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD for short, which can completely take over your life.

OCD shows itself in many different formats. From compulsions, to just obsessive thoughts, known as Pure O.

Many therapies work with the rational part of the brain, and therefore are not effective, because as anyone experiencing OCD will know, the compulsions aren't not rational.

We need to work with a specific part of the brain to change response patterns before they reach consciousness. The OCD trigger is caught and stopped in it’s tracks preventing it from firing up again in the future.

We work on both the triggers and behavioural elements of OCD, provides long lasting results without the need for any ongoing coping strategies.

Anger Managment

Anger can be split into categories.

Chronic anger, which is prolonged, and can impact the immune system.

Passive anger, which doesn’t always come across as anger and can be difficult to identify

Overwhelmed anger, which is caused by life demands that are too much for an individual to cope with.

Self-inflicted anger, which is directed toward the self and may be caused by feelings of guilt

Judgmental anger, which is directed toward others and may come with feelings of resentment

Volatile anger, which involves sometimes-spontaneous bouts of excessive or violent anger

Do you ever get so angry that you want to lash out, shout or throw something? Does your partner enrage you so often that you find yourself screaming at them? Maybe you are finding yourself frequently wanting to hurt your child or a pet because they irritate you all of the time?

We have all experienced the heated surge of anger, and while being angry from time to time is an integral part of our evolutionary make up (it can help us detect and respond to threatening situations or motivate us to change aspects of our lives we are not happy with), constant, uncontrollable anger can be an incredibly destructive and dangerous emotion.

Anger and high adrenaline trigger physiological reactions such as raised heartbeat, higher temperature and palpitations. This level and intensity of emotion over a prolonged period of time can lead to serious physiological and psychological health problems including depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and lower-functioning immune system to name just a few.

Repeated angry outbursts can also have a devastating impact on our relationships, both professionally and personally, causing us even more misery and even putting us and those close to us in danger.

If your anger is causing distress to you and those around you, then getting help is essential before it does any irreparable damage. The style of therapy that Sarah offers is fast becoming the 'go to' therapy for anger helping to change your response gives an immediate result.


At the extreme end, constant high levels of arousal are generated by post-traumatic stress. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be a truly terrifying experience - however this can be resolved, both safely and quickly.

PTSD doesn't just affect people who have served in the military, or worked in the forces - PTSD can be brought on by any trauma that is experienced.

Someone with PTSD may be very anxious and find it difficult to relax. They may be constantly aware of threats and easily startled.
This state of mind is known as hyperarousal.

Hyperarousal often leads to:
angry outbursts
sleeping problems (insomnia)
difficulty concentrating

Often when people experience or appear to show anger, it is actually because they are feeling fear or they perceive a threat, and they're responding with a 'fight' response to this. The anger is caused by the survival mechanism, they are firing into the 'fight' part of the 'fight and flight' response.

Anger is the client being in 'Fight' and anxiety is the client being in 'Flight' and both are dealt with in the same way. We also need to resolve and deal with the trauma.

Resolving trauma of any kind, including abuse, whether sexual, physical, or emotional, or a trauma from an accident or an attack can be done just as effectively.

All of these events can be worked on without the need to actually disclose what the events was. The work can be done without the need to go over the event or events again - which means there is no need to talk about the detail. It is an extremely fast, effective way to help clients who are experiencing any kind of psychological distress.

If you are suffering from stress, or feel you maybe experiencing anxiety or having panic attacks, or dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder known as OCD, Anger issues, Depression or Trauma - Sarah Steventon is an Anxiety Specialist. She is a Psychotherapist with a wealth of experience which means she is able to work with you in a unique way to help resolve your issue and fast.

Sarah sees clients on a one-to-one basis at her Specialist Anxiety Centre in Warwick. Her consulting room is ideally placed to serve clients across the whole of the Warwickshire area.

Leamington-Spa - Warwick - Stratford Upon Avon

Fear of public speaking is the number one fear in the UK

Sarah is a phobia expert. Sometimes only one visit is all that is needed to resolve a simple phobia.

A specific phobia is a type of anxiety disorder defined as an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.

Although people with specific phobias realise their fear is irrational, the thought of these fear alone is often enough to cause tremendous, debilitating anxiety.

The number one phobia in the UK is fear of public speaking, or performance anxiety.

"One of the most common issues I deal with is the fear of doing presentations or having to stand up, or in fact sit down and talk to a group of people, which can sometimes constitute any number more than a couple of people - essentially any time when there is a focus on the individual. This is a phobia that can easily be resolved, often in just one visit.

This isn't specific to junior roles, in fact more often than not I work with Managing Directors, Chief Execs, and business owners, who have either always had a fear of public speaking and just not addressed it. Or they have never had an issue, and then suddenly find themselves feeling nervous whenever they have to address and audience of any kind - even just a small group around a table.

Using Neuropsychology, we are able to work with the part of the brain that controls the fight or flight response.

When this area of the brain recognises a previous pattern that has caused a feeling of fear, it automatically prompts the release of hormones such as adrenaline when the situation is encountered.

During the process the client is helped to create an artificial freeze response which a really interesting technique. By replicating the natural freeze response, we are able to stop the response in its tracks.

It’s extremely popular with clients because their is no need to have to expose themselves to the subject of their fear as they do in other psychological therapies.

With a fear of public speaking or any other simple phobia this style of therapy can resolve the issue in one visit.

It can be used for various sources of anxiety including a fear of medical and dental procedures, or stress reactions from past traumas.

The advantages are that it doesn’t require a lengthy course of treatment like some psychological therapies, so it is extremely cost effective.

Some phobias don't have any rational explanation - for example Claustrophobia is the fear of being enclosed in a small space or room and unable to escape. It can be triggered by many situations or stimuli, including lifts crowded to capacity, windowless rooms, hotel rooms with closed doors and sealed windows, small cars and even tight-necked clothing.

It is typically classified as an anxiety disorder, which can result in a panic attack. The onset of claustrophobia is generally caused by an event where you were once in a confined space and the survival part of the brain logs this as threatening, and when a similar circumstance is experienced the brain pattern matches back to what is previously logged as a traumatic event, and this causes the symptom.

So traumatic experiences appear to play a role in some people's claustrophobia as can childhood experiences as well - children left in a room by accident or punished by being placed in a closet seem more at risk, which would indicate that for some people it develops as its own condition.

Similarly, for some, claustrophobia develops and acts more like other types of phobias, such as a fear of spiders. There are many that have a fear of small spaces that doesn't appear to have been developed by any traumatic experience, but do seem to show up at a young age. Phobias can also develop by seeing someone else in your life with the same phobia - which means if your parent was ever afraid in a small space, you may be too. Again this is data being stored in the part of your brain, which is essentially a 'pattern recognition data system'.

Not all forms of anxiety have a clear cause, and the cause itself may not always matter. There are those that develop anxiety disorders for no apparent reason, as well as those that develop them through a series of unrelated events.

For example, you can develop something like claustrophobia from what seems like a completely unrelated event. If you had an anxiety attack in a party, and then left the party in an elevator, your mind may associate the anxiety with the elevator even though your anxiousness was caused by a party.

A simple phobia can often be resolved in one visit. If the phobia is a little more complex, it may require a further session.

Sarah works from her consulting room in Warwick and her practice on Harley Street in London.

This style of therapy also lends itself to working via Zoom/Skype and the therapy works in exactly the same way as it would face to face.

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