The following types of counseling are often effective for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), as well as other anxiety disorders. During counseling with a mental health professional, you can learn ways to reduce anxiety and psychological stress in your daily life.
Behavior therapy can help you modify and gain control over your behavior. It helps you learn how to cope with anxiety-provoking situations through controlled exposure to them. Examples include stress management (coping techniques), relaxation exercises, assertiveness training, and desensitization (gradual exposure to a stressful situation). This type of therapy can help you gain a better sense of control over your life.
Cognitive therapy helps you to change patterns of thinking that are unproductive and harmful. This kind of therapy helps you examine your feelings and separate realistic from unrealistic thoughts and helpful from unhelpful thoughts. Changing the way you respond helps you control the anxiety you may feel. As with behavioral therapy, it helps you gain a better sense of control over your life.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a combination of cognitive and behavior therapies. This involves:
- Cognitive restructuring—change false self-concepts, such as low self-esteem
- Anxiety monitoring—record thoughts and feelings every day
- Education—identify the basis of your symptoms followed by specific educational plan to deal with them effectively
With this type of therapy, you examine your feelings and thought patterns, learn to interpret them in a more realistic way, and apply coping techniques to various situations. These skills will be useful for a lifetime.
A variety of relaxation techniques can help you cope more effectively with stressors that contribute to GAD. Examples include meditation, deep breathing, progressive relaxation, yoga, and biofeedback. These techniques help you recognize tension in your body and release it with exercises that help quiet your mind and relax your muscles.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 11/2012 -
- Update Date: 11/26/2012 -