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Condition: Anxiety And Worry

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Generalised Anxiety and Excessive Worry

CBT treatment for Generalised anxiety and excessive worry begins by developing a clear understanding of the relationship between the person’s thoughts, emotions, behaviour, physical sensations and problem situations that trigger and maintain problems with worry and anxiety.

Additionally, some key features that keep worry and anxiety going are clarified. These may include:

  • Difficulty tolerating uncertainty
  • Positive beliefs about the usefulness of worry
  • Difficulties with problem-solving
  • Attempts to avoid anxiety and worry inducing activities
  • Beliefs and assumptions the individual holds about themselves

CBT involves assisting the person in building a greater tolerance for uncertainty and increasing their opportunities to develop a different response to anxious situations. This might include gaining skills in problem-solving and focusing efforts on taking concrete steps to address worrying problems, aiming to break out of the frustrating cycle of worry and anxiety that many people can find themselves trapped in.

As with depression and other mental health problems, long-held beliefs and assumptions that people hold about themselves can also be responsible for making them vulnerable to Generalised Anxiety and Worry. Where this is the case, CBT works to positively influence these factors in an attempt to assist people in better managing this problem in the future, once therapy ends.

Generalised Anxiety and Excessive Worry

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a a common mental heatlh problem characterised by excessive and uncontrollable levels of worry. Consequently, the individual may find it very hard to ‘switch off’ and get a break from their worrisome thoughts. Concerns may go round and round the person’s mind, whilst they attempt to problem-solve or prepare for possible difficulties in the future.

Such worries generate anxiety that seems to chronically rumble on despite the persons best efforts to get rid of it. Unsurprisingly, this can seriously affect their ability to sleep and gain pleasure from life.

Other common experiences with this problem include:

  • Hating uncertainty
  • Feeling restless and keyed up
  • Being physically tense
  • Problems concentrating
  • Putting things off
  • Avoiding many situations, particularly those that contain uncertainty

As described above, Generalised anxiety and excessive worry can become a significant problem for many people, with approximately 7% of the population experiencing this problem at some point in their lives. Typically, this leads to low mood, and it is not uncommon for people with GAD to experience accompanying problems such as panic attacks, social anxiety and low self-esteem.

Fortunately, GAD is a treatable mental health problem. CBT is listed within the National Institute for Clinical Excellence Guidelines for Anxiety Disorders (2004) as the treatment of choice for this problem.


new course

Mindfulness Courses

These new courses are now being offered in Southwell, running for eight weeks at the Old Courthouse, Burgage Green, Southwell. The Mindfulness courses are... Read More

recommended reading

Overcoming Worry

Overcoming Worry: A Self-Help Guide using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques

(2008) by Kevin Meares & Mark Freestons. Published by Constable and Robinson Ltd. More Info

the therapists

Dr Tim Sweeney

Dr Tim Sweeney

Postgraduate Diploma (Cognitive Therapy), BSc (Hons), Specialist Practitioner - Mental Health, BA (Hons), Diploma in Nursing - Mental Health... Read More

What Is CBT?

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is a form of talking therapy that looks at how you think about yourself, the world and other people, and... Read more


All discussions that take place in your therapy sessions are treated as confidential...


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