Therapy for Anxiety

Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia), Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Phobias

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent and among the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders. The most common signs of anxiety include uncontrollable worry, feeling tense or “on edge,” and physiological arousal such as rapid heart beat and breathing, nausea, and dizziness. Most people are familiar with the typical day-to-day anxieties surrounding uncertain, unfamiliar, and stressful situations such as an upcoming exam, a job interview, or a public speaking event. While this type of anxiety can certainly cause discomfort and get in the way of performing one’s best, this alone does not constitute an anxiety disorder. When anxiety becomes persistent, begins to interfere with living one’s life in a valued manner, and/or causes health or safety concerns, seeking professional help from a trained mental health professional (e.g., therapist, counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist) is recommended.


Common Symptoms of Anxiety

nervousness, irritability, stress

uncontrollable worry, racing thoughts, intrusive/unwanted thoughts, excessive planning, recurring distressing thoughts, preoccupation with uncertainty, obsessive thinking

rapid heart beat, nausea, rapid breathing (e.g., hyperventilation), dizziness or feeling faint, chest tightness, frequent headaches, low energy, fatigue

avoiding places that elicit anxiety, fidgeting, shaking or trembling, speaking faster than usual, hypervigilance, compulsive behavior


Treatment Approaches for Anxiety

While anxiety can present in various forms therapy for most anxiety conditions involves some form of confronting the feared trigger and developing a new response to it. Instead of fighting or fleeing (or freezing), treatment helps people learn how to navigate the discomfort of anxiety in order to do what is important or valued.


CBT is the most common treatment for anxiety disorders. CBT therapists assist individuals with identifying and challenging unhelpful cognitive patterns, analyzing the connection between thoughts and behaviors, and developing more effective thought processes and behavioral patterns.


Exposure therapy is a behaviorally-focused treatment that involves confronting feared triggers, experiences, and/or situations in a systematic manner. Exposure therapy is among the most effective psychotherapeutic interventions.


ACT is a behaviorally-oriented therapeutic approach that aims to modify how a person relates and responds to their internal experiences (i.e., thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and urges) in order to more fully engage in values-based behaviors.

Learn More About Anxiety

Articles, resources, and other helpful information about anxiety.

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