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Anxiety Therapist Los Angeles

anxiety therapy in west hollywood near los angeles

What is aNXIEty and how do you treat it?

Oliver Drakeford LMFT, CGP is an anxiety therapist, Los Angeles based, and has a decade of experience working with anxiety disorders.

Anxiety is a common emotion experienced by everyone from time to time. Feeling anxious before a big presentation or when waiting for an important call is normal. However, when anxiety starts to take control, causing life challenges, panic and distress, it's essential to seek help from anxiety specialists. Anxiety disorders can manifest in various ways, and understanding them is the first step towards finding effective treatment. 

With over ten years of dedicated practice in Los Angeles, I am a seasoned Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in anxiety in individuals, couples, and families. My role as a Certified Group Psychotherapist, Clinical Director, and Supervisor has enriched my understanding and treatment of anxiety and panic attacks, allowing me to mentor upcoming therapists in this field. My participation in the Psychoanalytic Certification at LAISPS underlines my commitment to research-driven, evidence based treatment approaches. The  approach I take is deeply influenced by this research, ensuring that both my clients and trainees benefit from the most current and effective therapeutic strategies.


Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

In psychotherapy GAD is is very common and is characterized by chronic and excessive worry about everyday life events. This constant worry can lead to physical symptoms such as fatigue and sleep disturbances as well as low self-esteem and lack of confidence

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD involves persistent obsessions and compulsive actions to alleviate anxious emotions. Common obsessions include fear of harm or contamination, while compulsions may include repetitive behaviors like cleaning or checking.​ Therapy is essential in the treatment of OCD and to overcome this serious issue.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder results in intense, debilitating fear and panic attacks. Symptoms can include chest pain, nausea, shortness of breath, and fear of losing control while having panic attacks.

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

SAD causes extreme fear in social or performance situations, leading to physical sensations like sweating and heart palpitations and a general social phobia that makes it hard to overcome difficulties in social situations.

Specific Phobias & 

Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder characterized by an intense, irrational fear of specific objects, situations, or activities. Unlike general anxiety disorders, phobias are usually connected to something particular. The fear experienced by individuals with a phobia is disproportionate to the actual danger posed and often leads to avoidance behavior.

Existential Anxiety

This type of anxious worry is a profound form of distress that arises when an individual confronts certain fundamental questions of existence. It's often triggered by thoughts about life's meaning, freedom, isolation, and death. Without anxiety treatment or therapy this can lead to a sense of doom and loss of control.

Primary Obsessional Disorder

This disorder entails intrusive thoughts, which may accompany OCD but can also manifest independently. These thoughts encompass a range of fears, such as the fear of causing harm to oneself or others, acting on inappropriate sexual impulses towards children or pets, blurting out inappropriate remarks in social settings, or engaging in behaviors that conflict with one's sexual orientation, even when they are not gay or lesbian. 

Illness  Anxiety Disorders

Also known as Health Anxiety and formally referred to as Hypochondriasis, it falls under the category of somatoform disorders. Persistent concerns regarding one's health primarily characterize it. This condition can arise due to a person's history of chronic illness, leading them to become hyper-vigilant about the possibility of falling ill again. Alternatively, it may develop as a symptom within a disorder or as an independent condition from mood disorders.


Emetophobia refers to the fear of vomiting. Individuals with emetophobia are easily triggered by various circumstances or the sight of others becoming sick, leading to feelings of nausea and anxiety. They tend to avoid situations or people they perceive as more likely to vomit in their presence. This avoidance can encompass scenarios such as being around small children, being in environments where alcohol consumption occurs, being on boats where motion sickness is possible.

How Anxiety Therapy Can Help in Los Angeles CA

There are a wide range of psychotherapy treatments for anxiety, but finding a therapist and many anxiety specialists who can help is not easy. Finding the right person for you to seek support is a crucial step towards managing and overcoming anxiety disorders. involves identifying underlying thought patterns and behaviors contributing to distressing emotions. Therapy aims to change these patterns to restore peace and calm in your life.

I'm a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles as well as a Certified Group Psychotherapist; I've worked as a mental health professional for nearly ten years in treating this disorder in Los Angeles.  In addition to this, I'm a Clinical Director and Clinical Supervisor and work to help clients and newer therapists learn to understand and manage various anxiety disorders, including social anxiety, phobias, panic disorder, and more. If you or someone you know is struggling in life with anxious feelings, eating disorders or other mental health issues, reach out to us today for a free phone consultation to learn more about the services we offer.


My office is located on Santa Monica Boulevard in the heart of West Hollywood and Los Angeles, close to Culver City, Beverly Hills and Brentwood for in-person therapy. Alternatively, I can provide online therapy sessions or telehealth. If you are in the Los Angeles area, don't hesitate to schedule a free 15-minute consultation call with me. I strive to create a safe and supportive environment to provide services that help you create a better, healthier relationship with anxiety and your self.

Expert Insights: Understanding the Differences Between Worry, Stress, and Anxiety

If you're like me you might use these words interchangeably, but actually, there's a bit of a difference between worry, stress and anxiety that your therapist should help you understand and distinguish between.

Tailored Anxiety Therapy Techniques in Los Angeles: My Unique Approach for Your Journey

There's an infinite number of ways for a therapist to think about anxiety and how to help a client understand and master anxiety treatment. Here are some of the ways I go about providing therapy to someone with anxiety - please note that these are very general ideas and may not apply to you at all, but that doesn't mean these are the only anti-anxiety approaches or practical tools up my sleeve! 

I use various modalities to understand and treat certain anxious thoughts that lead to this disorder, I use a combination of evidence based methods

1. Reality Based Anxiety

Reality-related anxiety stems from the tangible stresses of daily life, such as financial worries or being on time. Anxiety around things like this is often quite appropriate - before a test for example, we should feel some heightened alertness and anxious feelings. The problem is when the amount anxiety around these things becomes too much and causes too many symptoms or interrupts our daily functioning.


I  work with clients experiencing anxiety to effectively manage reality-related anxiety by assessing and calibrating the level of importance we are putting on these stressors and providing coping skills and tools for new clients to manage anxious feelings.

five types of anxiety- REALITY
anxiety therapy and existential anxiety

2. Existential Anxiety

Existential anxiety arises from pondering life's big questions: the meaning of existence, death, freedom, and isolation. Particularly prevalent during adolescence, this anxiety type can lead to significant distress, often seen in teenagers and those who have experienced trauma.

Therapy is effective in this area in helping clients navigate through the distress that arises from these big life questions. By providing support and guidance exposure therapy, we can work together to explore fears and I can assist individuals in finding meaning and purpose, addressing their fears of isolation and freedom.

3. Anxiety from the Inner Critic

The inner critic, a voice formed from our early interactions with caregivers and influential figures, can be a source of anxiety. This critic internalizes both the nurturing and disciplinary aspects of upbringing. An overly harsh inner critic can lead to anxiety over minor missteps or anticipatory anxiety about potential failures.

In therapy, I work with my clients to recognize and mitigate the harshness of the inner critic and understand the subtle and devious ways it can stir up anxious feelings. 

anxiety therapy and the inner critic
anxiety counseling and feelings

4. Anxiety from Repressed Emotions

Freud originally linked anxiety to repressed sexual urges, but contemporary understanding extends to many repressed emotions, like anger or frustration. It's widely accepted that not acknowledging or expressing these emotions can lead to internal tension and anxiety.

I work with clients to do mindfulness practices that facilitate healthy understanding and expression of repressed emotions, by exploring the unconscious blocks and working through any resistances to feelings. By addressing unexpressed feelings, I help clients reduce internal tension and anxiety.

5. Attachment-related anxiety in Infancy

Rooted in Freud's early theories and the basis of modern attachment theory, this anxiety stems from fears related to early caregiver relationships: fear of losing the caregiver, fear of loss of love, and fear of losing the caregiver's engagement. Addressing attachment-related anxiety involves recognizing and soothing deep-rooted anxieties, often through techniques like re-parenting the internal frightened child. In my practice, I help clients work through fears related to early caregiver relationships, mirroring the dynamics of these early anxieties.

anxiety therapist and early childhood

Five Facts About Anxiety And Anxiety Therapy

  • Anxiety disorders affect more than 264 million people worldwide, according to a study published in The Lancet Psychiatry. This makes anxiety the most prevalent mental health condition globally.

  • Researchers have discovered a link between anxiety and inflammation in the body. A study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that people with anxiety had higher levels of inflammatory markers in their blood than those without anxiety.

  • Anxiety levels may be influenced by gut bacteria. A study in the journal Psychopharmacology found that taking probiotics led to a reduction in anxiety symptoms in participants.

  • People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) have a harder time regulating their emotions, particularly when it comes to disengaging from negative information. This was shown in a study published in the Journal Emotion.

What Are Some Unusual Signs Of Anxiety That A Therapist Might Spot?

1. Digestive issues: Anxiety can manifest as indigestion, burping, passing gas, diarrhea, or heartburn.

2. Auditory disturbances: Tinnitus, or a ringing in the ears, can be a sign of stress and anxiety. This may present as buzzing, ringing, humming, or other sounds.

3. Skin sensations: Anxiety can cause a burning sensation on the skin, lips, tongue, or eyes, which may feel like sunburn, prickling, or shooting sparks as well as other

4. Cardiac symptoms: Heart irregularities such as skipped heartbeats, palpitations, or a racing heart can indicate anxiety. It is important to seek medical attention to rule out other causes.

5. Sensory disturbances: Physical numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, arms, legs, or face, as well as feelings of weakness, may be indicative of anxiety.

6. Respiratory symptoms: Excessive yawning during anxiety attacks can stem from hyperventilation, leading to a feeling of insufficient oxygen intake.

7. Olfactory hallucinations: An olfactory hallucination, known as phantosmia, may occur with anxiety, causing the person to smell something that isn't there or perceive neutral smells as unpleasant.

Interactive and Multimedia Resources for Anxiety Management

Your Interactive Journey to Anxiety Relief with resources, assessments and other ideas to lower anxiety and start your journey into a less anxious life.


Click here for a free Anxiety Screening Tool that might help you clarify if you could benefit from anxiety therapy.



This website is an authority on anxiety and might have useful handouts and readings for you to download


"Everything Isn't Terrible" By Dr Kathleen Smith is a great read on understanding generalized or chronic anxiety. Highly recommend.



Positive Psychology has a lot to offer in general but these are some great minduflness tools to use that can help

Voices of Success: Client Testimonials

"I could tell that he was present and listening to what I had to say. His insights were spot on and  put things into perspective, which is exactly what I needed and wanted."

"The absolute best. Oliver Drakeford is the most talented and knowledgeable therapist I've ever crossed paths with." 

"He listens intently, remembers virtually everything you tell him, synthesises all your information, makes connections and pops out some startlingly helpful feedback"

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