Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, refers to a highly effective treatment for common mental health conditions. The therapy focuses on changing unhelpful behaviors, perceptions, thoughts, and emotions. It is a collaborative process where psychologists and patients work together to tackle specific or general problems. This therapy can be used in combination with medication or other treatments.
Resources like The Human Condition offer comprehensive information on psychotherapy.
Psychotherapy for Anxiety
Psychotherapy can be highly effective for people who feel anxious most of the time. Anxiety issues can impair a person’s quality of life and interfere with relationships with family and friends.
People with anxiety issues are affected by sleepless nights, racing thoughts, sweating, trembling, trouble concentrating, and sudden panic attacks. The symptoms of anxiety can be severe in some people, making them think they have a medical emergency. When left untreated, anxiety can be debilitating and remain a lifelong struggle.
Several anxiety disorders can be treated using psychotherapy, including panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The benefits derived from psychotherapy are numerous. They include improvement in overall well-being, symptom reduction, personal and interpersonal growth.
The therapy is an effective way to treat anxiety and helps prevent the recurrence of most types of anxiety. Psychotherapy for anxious people can help them overcome anxiety issues, develop coping strategies, and lead happy lives.
Types of Psychotherapy
There are different types of therapy recommended for anxiety disorders, and some work better with certain problems. The treatment is tailored to specific symptoms of the patient. It can be conducted in any setting – individual, family, couple, or group setting.
Two of the therapies used for treating anxiety include cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy. As no one size fits all, the therapist will determine the ideal therapy or use a blended approach.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
This therapy is highly effective for treating people with anxiety issues. This therapy helps people identify and change negative thinking and behavior patterns that are contributing to anxiety issues. By understanding how their thoughts contribute to their anxiety symptoms and changing those thought patterns, the therapist can reduce the intensity and likelihood of anxiety.
CBT involves cognitive and behavioral techniques, and this psychological treatment has the most evidence of efficacy. This therapy can be very beneficial for people of all ages who are dealing with anxiety issues as it can help alleviate all the symptoms associated with anxiety.
Exposure therapy is also used in some cases for treating anxiety. This therapy exposes people to the situations they fear; repeated exposure will give them an increased sense of control over the situation, diminishing their anxiety. This therapy can be conducted as part of CBT.
Apart from CBT, other therapies that can be used for anxiety are Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and commitment therapy, Psychoanalytic therapy, and interpersonal therapy.
Anxious people seeking psychotherapy will experience self-awareness, change negative thought patterns, and develop ways to cope with anxiety, improving their quality of life.
According to information on platforms like The Human Condition, cognitive behavioral therapy works better than other treatments for generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorders. Acceptance and commitment therapy is ideal for people with mixed anxiety disorder. Exposure therapies are used for patients with specific phobias.
Effectiveness of Psychotherapy for Anxiety
The effectiveness of the therapy varies from person to person. Most people suffering from anxiety can reduce or eliminate symptoms after just a few or several months of psychotherapy. Some people may need ongoing treatment for years, while others may notice the improvement in a few sessions.
Various scientific studies have showcased the consistent and positive effects of psychotherapy. The therapy also has long-lasting effects and is more enduring than medication. Psychotherapy also leads to fewer relapses of anxiety.
One large-scale study that examined 16 meta-analyses of CBT says that the therapy was equally or even more effective than other therapies in dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and social phobia.
Few other research studies also show that CBT is also an effective treatment for preventing future anxiety. Another study found that psychodynamic therapy was also effective at treating psychological issues as CBT.
Regardless of the type of psychotherapy, the effectiveness of the therapy will also depend on various factors:
- The person’s desire to participate and engage actively in the process
- Honesty in describing symptoms and situations
- The skill of the practitioner
- The relationship between the therapist and a patient
If you are someone suffering from anxiety issues, you can go ahead with psychotherapy to lower your anxiety levels and calm your mind.