A Brief Guide to Therapies for Anxiety Disorders
Updated: Jun 5
If you or your loved one suffers from anxiety, consider going to therapy as a means of recovery. While medication is also an option for anxiety disorder, therapy is often more effective. There are many different kinds of therapy available. Every type of therapy won’t work for everyone, because they all have there positives and negatives. It’s important to remember that a little bit of discomfort is needed in therapy. If you never leave your comfort zone, you’ll never change!
In this post I’ll briefly be going over the most common types of therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
There are many types of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), but the main goal behind them is to have the patient challenges their own negative thoughts. The goal is to reframe their mindset in order to make them believe that it is their thoughts that affect feelings and behaviors, and not their situation. It’s the most widely-used therapy for anxiety disorders, especially for treating phobias, social anxiety, general anxiety, and panic disorders.
Once you start therapy, it is important that you follow through with the techniques and practices that your therapist advised you. You come in with a growth mindset, ready to change your way of thinking.
An app that I recommend that uses the CBT formula is "MindShift CBT" by Anxiety Canada Association. It offers advice on combating anxious thoughts in the moment, as well as practicing mindfulness and having daily check-ins. Here’s a link in case you’d like to check it out: https://www.anxietycanada.com/resources/mindshift-cbt/?_ga=2.54916843.1514764606.1621479297-1966811104.1618973406
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy is another CBT method. Dialectical Thinking is to approach your thoughts from differing perspectives in order to reach a logical solution. Anxious thoughts often become overwhelming, and can blow everything out of proportion. Learning to approach these situations with alternate perspectives is important because gives you a sense of control over your thoughts.
DBT teaches four key skills, which are mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance and emotional regulation.
DBT used to treat Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), but is now used to treat many different conditions, including anxiety.
Exposure therapy is a common CBT method, used to treat different anxiety disorders - but more specifically phobias, social anxieties, and PTSD. During exposure therapy, your therapist will slowly introduce you to things that may cause anxiety. There are different approaches to this, but they all follow the same sequence of steps.
Your therapist will first teach you relaxation techniques, and then work with you to list and rank in order the things that trigger the most anxiety. Finally, you’ll be exposed to these same things, except you will be using the coping mechanisms that you were taught. It seems scary, but again, you have to be uncomfortable in order to experience growth.
I hope this brief overview of the three most common types of therapy for anxiety has helped you in some way. For more information and links, I highly recommend looking at this website: https://www.verywellmind.com/anxiety-therapy-4692759