Anxiety can be debilitating but it is also a manageable mental health condition. Psychotherapy for anxiety can help identify triggers, manage symptoms, and modify unhelpful thought and behavior patterns.
Anxiety Disorder Psychotherapy Options
Anxiety can be an extremely stressful and overwhelming experience. It is characterized by a general feeling of uneasiness or discomfort that may be so severe that it interferes with your everyday life. But there are many treatments available that can help you take control of your thoughts and feelings and deal with anxiety.
How is Anxiety Treated?
Today, there are various models of psychotherapy for anxiety disorders. Depending on the type and severity of your anxiety symptoms, your doctor or psychotherapist may suggest a single psychotherapy treatment for anxiety (such as CBT or psychodynamic psychotherapy) or a combination of psychotherapy approaches.
Your therapist may also suggest specific changes to your lifestyle and help you form new healthy self-care habits so that the changes you make in anxiety psychotherapy can last.
What is Psychotherapy for Anxiety?
Therapy for anxiety typically involves talk therapy. Clients work with their therapist to address their issues and reduce anxiety symptoms.
How Does Psychotherapy for Anxiety Disorders Work in General?
Therapy for anxiety aims to give clients the tools to manage anxiety symptoms and develop strategies to overcome anxiety. Your therapist can help you with the following:
- Identify and understand what causes your feelings of apprehension, worry, or fear
- Recognize your self-critical and negative thinking patterns that trigger unpleasant feelings
- Learn practical strategies to overcome negative thoughts and relax
- Develop healthy coping mechanisms
- Replace unhelpful thoughts and behaviors with more positive ones
- Learn to treat yourself with compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance
- Improve your relationships
Can Psychotherapy Cure Anxiety?
Anxiety disorders, while overwhelming, are highly curable with psychotherapy and medication, most often in combination. The American Psychological Association (APA) states that after a few weeks or months of anxiety treatment, most patients with anxiety report lessened symptoms and an increased capacity to control them.
Psychotherapy Treatment for Anxiety
The most common anxiety disorder psychotherapy options involve the following:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Interpersonal therapy (IPT)
- Psychodynamic therapy
- Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
- Dialectic behavioral therapy (DBT)
- Exposure therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy is an evidence-based, goal-oriented, and short-term therapy. This psychotherapy focuses on a specific problem, for example, helping you understand how your thoughts contribute to anxiety symptoms.
CBT then helps you modify your dysfunctional ways of thinking and behaving, offering healthy alternatives to deal with problems in your everyday life once treatment is over.
Additionally, CBT can help you reduce stress, increase your resilience, and provide you with the tools you need to deal with intense emotions like grief, worry, or fear.
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
Interpersonal therapy is another evidence-based and goal-focused approach to treating mood disorders. It aims to help resolve the client’s social functioning by assisting them in managing interpersonal relationships and resolving conflicts.
IPT is often used in grief counseling to help people deal with the death of a loved one or difficult changes in their lives, like getting divorced or retiring.
The core issues of psychodynamic therapy are the unconscious, coping mechanisms, Id, Ego, and Superego. The client’s psychosocial and psychosexual growth is prioritized, and the unconscious, whose multiple components – the Id, Ego, and Superego – are continually in conflict, is identified as the cause of human behavior.
According to psychodynamic psychotherapy, our behavior and feelings as adults are affected by what we went through as children.
The goal of the psychodynamic approach is to help the client understand themselves and see their symptoms for what they are, which can help a person come up with healthy ways to deal with them.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is grounded in cognitive-behavioral therapy. It is action-oriented, getting clients in touch with what matters to them. ACT teaches clients mindfulness skills to manage painful thoughts and feelings so that they can accept deep, painful emotions instead of avoiding or denying them.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical behavioral therapy is a proactive, problem-solving method that teaches the practical skills to manage intense emotions and lessen self-destructive behaviors via mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation.
In psychotherapy for anxiety, exposure therapy is used to help people get over their fears or phobias by breaking the patterns of fear and avoidance.
This method is beneficial for treating phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
What Type of Psychotherapy is Best for Anxiety?
How to find the type of therapy for anxiety that will work best for you?
Talk to your GP or mental health provider to determine which anxiety psychotherapy best matches your needs. They will help you choose the right psychotherapy option based on the type and severity of your anxiety symptoms, the causes of your anxiety, and related mental or physical health issues.
What Type of Psychotherapy is Best for Anxiety?
The nature, causes, and degree of your symptoms will determine the type of therapy for anxiety you receive. However, cognitive-behavioral therapy is thought to be the most successful in the treatment of anxiety disorders.
How Effective is Psychotherapy for Anxiety
According to various studies, anxiety can be effectively treated. For example, a study by the US National Institute of Mental Health shows that more than 50 percent of people treated for anxiety experienced significant improvement in their condition.
Research shows that CBT is the best for treating anxiety and depression, with 50 to 75 percent effectiveness for overcoming anxiety and depression after 5-15 sessions.
The Benefits of Psychotherapy for Anxiety
Psychotherapy for anxiety can assist you in learning how to manage and overcome anxiety symptoms and gain control over your life. In addition, anxiety psychotherapy can help you to:
- Learn to identify and challenge negative thoughts
- Identify underlying causes of anxiety
- Learn how to focus on the present and relax
- Develop better coping skills
- Improve interpersonal relationships
- Set boundaries
The first step to dealing with anxiety is to know what triggers it. Therapy for anxiety can be a great way to recognize the situations that make you feel uneasy, label your feelings, and replace negative thoughts and behaviors with more positive ones.