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Stress Therapy & Counseling Services in Tennessee

Stress Therapy & Counseling Services in Tennessee

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What is Stress?

Stress is described as a physiological and psychological reaction to a threat or challenge that is actual or perceived. It is usually referred to as a stressor, and to feel stressed is a natural part of the human experience.1 However, stress harms your health if left unmanaged, leading to mental health conditions like complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).2

There are different kinds of stress, including:3

  • Positive stress: also known as eustress, can motivate and energize individuals, enhancing their performance and promoting personal growth.
    • Examples of eustress may include taking on a new project at work, participating in a competition, or planning a wedding.
  • Negative stress: also known as distress, can have harmful effects on an individual’s mental and physical health, and it can interfere with their daily functioning.
    • Examples of distress may include financial problems, relationship issues, health problems, and work-related stressors.
  • Acute Stress: Fight or flight – the body gears up for self-defense. The metabolism takes roughly 90 minutes to return to normal when the reaction is completed.
  • Chronic Stress: The cost of living – bills, children, employment. This is the stress we frequently overlook or suppress.

Stress activates the body’s stress response system, which triggers the release of stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, from the adrenal gland. These hormones prepare the body for action, increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration.

In the short term, the stress response can be beneficial, helping an individual cope with a challenging situation. However, if stress becomes chronic, it can harm the body, including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, digestive problems, and mental health disorders.

Stress is prevalent in today’s society, affecting people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. Below are a few stress-related statistics for reference:

  • Every day, one million Americans miss work due to high stress.4
  • As part of its Mind/Body Health program, the American Psychological Association conducts an annual national poll to assess the level of stress in the nation and understand its effects. Top sources of stress included the rise in prices of everyday items due to inflation (e.g., gas prices, grocery costs, etc.) (87%), supply chain problems (81%), global uncertainty (81%), Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (80%), and potential Russian retaliation (80%). These sources of stress were cited by 87% of respondents.5
  • According to a 2020 poll by The American Institute of Stress, Gen Z adults (18 to 23) and teenagers (13 to 17) already exhibit signs of depression and elevated stress levels.
  • Over the duration of the pandemic, 2 in 3 adults (67%) report experiencing increased stress.
  • 49% of all American adults think stress has had a negative impact on their behavior.
  • To find the locales with the most stress-free lifestyles, WalletHub evaluated 50 states across 41 key stress indicators, including average weekly work hours and the number of hours of sleep. WalletHub concluded that Tennessee is the 11th most stressed state in the nation.6
  • Of 143 nations, 35% of the world’s population is stressed out.

Causes of Stress

Various factors can cause stress, and what causes stress for one person may not cause stress for another. The following are some common causes and examples of stress:

  • Work-related stress: Heavy workloads, deadlines, conflicts with colleagues, job insecurity, and demanding bosses
  • Financial stress: Debt, living paycheck to paycheck, job loss, or unexpected expenses
  • Relationship stress: Conflicts with romantic partners, family members, or friends
  • Health-related stress: Chronic illness, injury, or a medical diagnosis
  • Life changes: Moving, getting married, having a baby, or experiencing the death of a loved one can be stressful
  • Environmental stress: Natural disasters, pollution, or noise
  • Daily hassles: Minor annoyances and inconveniences, such as traffic jams, long lines, or technical difficulties, can also increase stress levels

Symptoms of Stress

Stress symptoms can vary from person to person, and not everyone will experience all of these symptoms. Stress can manifest in many ways, and people can experience various physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms when stressed. Here are some common symptoms of stress:7

  • Physical symptoms: headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, changes in appetite, difficulty sleeping, chest pain, changes in sex drive, and gastrointestinal problems such as stomach pain or nausea
  • Emotional symptoms: irritability, anxiety, depression, mood swings, and feeling overwhelmed
  • Cognitive symptoms: difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, and indecisiveness
  • Behavioral symptoms: changes in eating or sleeping habits, social withdrawal, increased use of drugs or alcohol, angry outbursts, and a decreased ability to perform daily tasks

Stress is a normal part of life. In many cases, it can be managed effectively through healthy coping strategies such as exercise, relaxation techniques, or talking with friends or family. However, if stress becomes overwhelming or begins to interfere with daily functioning, it may be necessary to seek professional help.

Here are some indicators that your stress may be severe enough to need assistance or treatment:

  • Persistent physical symptoms: If you are experiencing physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach problems, or chronic fatigue that are not alleviated by self-care practices, it may be a sign that your stress levels are too high.
  • Impaired functioning: If your stress levels interfere with your ability to perform daily tasks such as work, school, or care for yourself or others, it may be time to seek help.
  • Mood changes: If you are experiencing persistent feelings of anxiety, depression, or irritability, it may be a sign that your stress levels are excessive.
  • Relationship problems: If your stress levels are causing conflicts in your relationships with others, it may be a sign that you need help.
  • Self-harm or suicidal thoughts: If you are experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide, it is vital to seek help immediately. You can dial 988 on your phone for 24/7 free and confidential support from the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

Insurance may be able to help cover the cost of therapy. Find out if your insurance provider can help with the costs by filling in our confidential insurance verification form below.

Stress Treatments & Therapy

Stress therapy aims to help you develop effective strategies for managing stress and improving your overall well-being. The process of stress counseling can take many different forms, depending on your needs and preferences, but here is a general overview of what you can expect:

  • Assessment: The first step in stress management therapy is determining the nature and extent of your stress levels. This may involve completing questionnaires, conversing with your therapist, or undergoing diagnostic tests to rule out underlying medical conditions.
  • Treatment planning: Based on the assessment results, your therapist will work with you to develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs and goals. This may involve setting specific targets for reducing stress levels and identifying strategies for achieving those targets.
  • Therapy sessions: Counseling for stress typically involves regular sessions with a stress therapist, which may be individual or group-based, depending on your needs and preferences. Therapy sessions may include a variety of techniques and interventions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, relaxation techniques, or problem-solving skills training.
  • Homework and self-care: To get the most out of stress therapy, it’s important to practice the skills and techniques you learn in therapy outside of the sessions. This may involve doing homework assignments, practicing relaxation techniques, or engaging in self-care practices such as exercise or meditation.
  • Evaluation and feedback: Throughout stress counseling, your therapist will periodically evaluate your progress and provide feedback on your efforts. This may involve revising treatment goals or adjusting the treatment plan as needed.

Stress counseling can help you manage your symptoms and cope with them productively. Specific therapeutic methods are especially beneficial for dealing with and managing stress. Below are a few examples of the types of therapy that can be used to address stress:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT focuses on changing negative thoughts and behavior that contribute to stress. This approach involves identifying and challenging negative thought patterns, developing coping strategies to manage stress, and practicing relaxation techniques.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): ACT focuses on developing psychological flexibility and increasing the ability to accept and manage difficult emotions. It involves mindfulness skills, identifying personal values, and setting goals to achieve them.
  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT): IPT is a stress therapy approach that focuses on improving communication and relationships with others, which can help reduce stress levels. This method involves identifying and addressing relationship problems and developing skills to improve communication and problem-solving.
  • Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR): MBSR blends mindfulness practices with stress management therapy approaches to prevent and treat stress. It could include yoga, body awareness, meditation, and relaxation.
  • Psychodynamic Therapy: Psychodynamic therapy explores unconscious emotions and unresolved conflicts that may contribute to stress. This therapy approach involves developing insight into how past experiences may impact current stress levels.
  • Family therapy: Family therapy is a stress therapy method focusing on addressing stress within the context of the family system. It involves identifying family dynamics that may contribute to stress and developing strategies for improving communication and relationships.
  • Online Therapy: Many therapy approaches are now offered online, making therapy more accessible and affordable.

In addition, medications can be helpful as a stress reduction therapy. However, they’re not always necessary or appropriate for everyone. Your decision to use medications for stress relief should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider. It should consider factors such as the severity of symptoms, your medical history, and the potential risks and benefits of the medication. Additionally, medication(s) should be used with other stress management therapy strategies, such as talk therapy or lifestyle changes, to achieve the best possible outcomes.8

Several types of professionals can provide stress counseling, including Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC), Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW), psychologists, and psychiatrists.

Mental health professionals must undergo strict educational and training requirements. For example, In Tennessee, psychologists are required to have the following education and training:9

  • A doctoral degree in psychology from an accredited institution
  • Completion of an American Psychological Association (APA) accredited internship
  • Pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)
  • Completion of two years of supervised professional experience
  • Pass the Tennessee Jurisprudence exam

Psychologists in Tennessee can obtain an independent license after fulfilling these prerequisites. They must also fulfill continuing education requirements to keep their license active and stay abreast of industry advancements.

Stress Therapy Treatment Costs & Insurance Coverage

The following are average costs, though they may vary by location and other factors and may not reflect the actual cost of what you’ll pay for stress counseling in Tennessee.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions, for example, are typically 45+ minutes long and cost between $100 and $200 per session.10 CBT is generally considered a short-term therapy, with sessions ranging from 5 to 20. In addition, the typical cost of psychotherapy in the US ranges from $100 to $200 a session, dependent upon the location, the session duration, and many other factors.

With health insurance, you’ll most likely have a deductible that must first be met and a copay ranging from a few dollars to $50 or more a session. Reviewing your policy for specific coverage amounts, limitations, and exclusions is important. You may be required to find an in-network provider and/or obtain a referral or pre-authorization. Every insurance policy differs.

Getting the necessary counseling for stress is convenient with Athena Care’s multiple mental health treatment clinics across Tennessee. Filling out our free and confidential online insurance verification form is the most efficient method to determine the specifics of your stress therapy insurance coverage. In addition, you can find a list of practitioners organized by city, their background, and their specialties here.

After completing the no-obligation form, a care coordinator will review your policy and contact you to thoroughly explain your options for stress counseling. Rest assured, all submitted or discussed information remains confidential.

Stress Therapy Treatment Success & Outlook

The overall outlook for stress therapy treatment is positive. However, it’s important to note that the success of stress management therapy can depend on several factors, including your willingness to participate in the therapy process actively, the severity of your stress, your needs and goals, and the therapist’s approach.

Below are a few statistics related to stress therapy:

  • According to the findings of an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) efficacy trial, the ACT group’s wellbeing increased compared to the control group from pre-intervention through post-intervention and follow-up.11
  • Increasing psychological flexibility has been demonstrated beneficial in reducing stress.12
  • Stress management with CBT has been shown to lower stress and anxiety levels, enhance psychological well-being, and boost confidence.13
  • Research on mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has demonstrated that it can lower stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout while enhancing the quality of life.14
  • Studies have found that regular exercise can reduce stress symptoms in about 40-50% of patients.15
  • Breathing exercises help ease stress and lower blood pressure. Several breathing exercises may be used in various ways. For instance, yoga exercises like Ujjayi breathing, also known as ocean breathing, have been proven to have calming effects and lower stress levels.16

Other Options for Coping With Stress

Fortunately, there are several options for coping with stress. Here are some of the most common and effective ones:17

  • Exercise: Regular physical activity is a form of stress management therapy. Exercise promotes the release of endorphins, the brain’s natural mood-enhancing substances. It can also help you sleep better, further reducing stress levels.
  • Relaxation techniques: Various relaxation techniques can help reduce stress levels, such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization. These techniques can help you feel calmer and more relaxed.
  • Mindfulness meditation: Mindfulness meditation involves paying attention to the present moment and accepting it without judgment. It can help reduce stress levels and improve overall well-being.
  • Social support: Talking to friends, family, or a therapist can help manage stress. A support system can help you feel less isolated and provide perspective on your stressors.
  • Time management: Often, stress arises when we feel overwhelmed by tasks or responsibilities. Effective time management can help you prioritize tasks and reduce stress levels.
  • Self-care: Practicing self-care is another effective stress reduction therapy. This includes getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, getting a massage, reading a book, engaging in hobbies or activities you enjoy, and taking time for yourself.


  1. “Stress Management.” Mayo Clinic, 8 Apr. 2022, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/basics/stress-basics/hlv-20049495.
  2. Leonard, Jayne. “What Is Complex PTSD: Symptoms, Treatment, and Resources to Help You Cope.” Medical News Today, 23 Dec. 2022, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322886.
  3. Boyd, Danielle. “Daily Life – the American Institute of Stress.” The American Institute of Stress, 30 Mar. 2022, www.stress.org/daily-life.
  4. Boyd, Danielle. “Workplace Stress – the American Institute of Stress.” The American Institute of Stress, 15 Feb. 2023, www.stress.org/workplace-stress.
  5. “Stress in America.” American Psychological Association, Oct. 2022, www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress.
  6. McCann, Adam. “2023’s Most and Least Stressed States.” WalletHub, wallethub.com/edu/most-stressful-states/32218.
  7. “Stress Symptoms: Effects on Your Body and Behavior.” Mayo Clinic, 24 Mar. 2021, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987.
  8. Williams, Flynn. “Stress: Symptoms and Types of Medications.” MedicalNewsToday. 30 Aug. 2022, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/best-medication-for-stress.
  9. “Tennessee, TN: Psychology License to Become a Certified Psychologist – Human Services Edu.” Human Services Edu, www.humanservicesedu.org/tennessee-psychology-requirements.
  10. Lauretta, Ashley. “How Much Does Therapy Cost?” edited by Alena Hall, Forbes Health, 2021, https://www.forbes.com/health/mind/how-much-does-therapy-cost/
  11. Fledderus, Martine et al. “Mental health promotion as a new goal in public mental health care: a randomized controlled trial of an intervention enhancing psychological flexibility.” American journal of public health vol. 100,12 (2010): 2372. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2010.196196
  12. Brinkborg, Hillevi et al. “Acceptance and commitment therapy for the treatment of stress among social workers: a randomized controlled trial.” Behaviour research and therapy vol. 49,6-7 (2011): 389-98. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2011.03.009
  13. Jafar, Hamdam Molla, et al. “The Effectiveness of Group Training of CBT-Based Stress Management on Anxiety, Psychological Hardiness and General Self-Efficacy Among University Students.” Global Journal of Health Science, vol. 8, no. 6, Canadian Center of Science and Education, Sept. 2015, p. 47. https://doi.org/10.5539/gjhs.v8n6p47.
  14. Khoury, Bassam, et al. “Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction for Healthy Individuals: A Meta-analysis.” Journal of Psychosomatic Research, vol. 78, no. 6, Elsevier BV, June 2015, pp. 519–28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2015.03.009.
  15. “Physical Activity Reduces Stress.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA, adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/stress/physical-activity-reduces-st. Accessed 12 Apr. 2023.
  16. Epe, Janika, et al. “Different Effects of Four Yogic Breathing Techniques on Mindfulness, Stress, and Well-being.” OBM Integrative and Complimentary Medicine, vol. 06, no. 03, LIDSEN Publishing Inc, June 2021, p. 1. https://doi.org/10.21926/obm.icm.2103031.
  17. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. “Tips for Coping With Stress.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 30 Nov. 2021, www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/about/copingwith-stresstips.html.

If you suspect that you or someone you love suffers from mental health disorders, contact Athena Care today.

One of our friendly associates will help you get the help you need. Take this first step to feel better and take control. 

(615) 320-1155