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.
is a combination of cognitive and behavior therapies. This involves:
Cognitive restructuring—change false self-concepts, such as low self-esteemAnxiety monitoring—record thoughts and feelings every dayEducation—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
can help you cope more effectively with stressors that contribute to GAD. Examples include meditation, deep breathing, progressive relaxation,
. These techniques help you recognize tension in your body and release it with exercises that help quiet your mind and relax your muscles.
Regular physical activity may also help to reduce anxiety. Some good options include brisk
. Before starting an exercise program, check with your doctor about any possible medical problems you may have that would limit your exercise program.
Find help. Anxiety and Depression Association of America website. Available at:
Accessed June 13, 2016.
Stern T, Rosenbaum J, et al.
Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry.
Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2008.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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