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Integrative Approaches to Treating Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Integrative Approaches to Treating Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)


A condition which seems to be becoming more prevalent in hypno-psychotherapists offices is Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). GAD is generally presented by clients with continual anxiety which does not seem to end. Generally people with this find relaxation difficult, which can cause certain difficulties when using progressive relaxation inductions or the National College’s CRC protocol. However, this does not stop hypno-psychotherapy being a very effective intervention when working with GAD.

Key Intervention Strategies:

As clients will be in an agitated state when suffering from GAD, it would not be appropriate to simply go straight into hypno-psychotherapy. The first step in treatment is to take appropriate time to help to educate your clients regarding their condition. Often clients feel that they are the only person to suffer with this condition. This can be especially true as there does not seem to be a common cause or a trigger which sets off the anxiety response.

The key to switching out of an anxiety state is to accept it fully. Remaining in the present and accepting your anxiety cause it to disappear.

A: Accept the anxiety. Welcome it. Don’t fight it. Replace your rejection, anger, and hatred of it with acceptance. By resisting, you’re prolonging the unpleasantness of it. Instead, flow with it. Don’t make it responsible for how you think, feel, and act.

W: Watch your anxiety. Look at it without judgment – not good, not bad. Rate it on a 0-to-10 scale and watch it go up and down. Be detached. Remember, you’re not your anxiety. The more you can separate yourself from the experience, the more you can just watch it.

A: Act with the anxiety. Act as if you aren’t anxious. Function with it. Slow down if you have to, but keep going. Breathe slowly and normally. If you run from the situation your anxiety will go down, but your fear will go up. If you stay, both your anxiety and your fear will go down.

R: Repeat the steps. Continue to accept your anxiety, watch it, and act with it until it goes down to a comfortable level. And it will. Just keep repeating these three steps: accept, watch, and act with it.

E: Expect the best. What you fear the most rarely happens. Recognize that a certain amount of anxiety is normal. By expecting future anxiety you’re putting yourself in a good position to accept it when it comes again.

Adapted from: Anxiety Disorders and Phobias: A Cognitive Perspective, by Aaron Beck and Gary Emery

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