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5 types of therapy for anxiety to consider

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues in the country, with about 40 million people over the age of 18 managing this condition. However, only about 37 percent receive treatment. Healthcare providers are working to educate people more about mental health, and recently, they began screening girls and women over the age of 13 for anxiety as part of wellness checkups.

If you are struggling with anxiety, know you are not alone, and help is available. There are several types of therapy for anxiety to choose from, and there’s no one-size-fits-all option. It’s about what’s best for you.

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Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is popular for many mental health issues, including anxiety. CBT helps you understand your negative behaviors and the motivations behind them, then asks you to develop healthier coping mechanisms. If you’re experiencing anxiety, a therapist can guide you as you evaluate how your negative thoughts add to your anxiety and develop ways to deal with them when these concerns arise in the future.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is another common way to treat anxiety, particularly generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). This treatment exposes you to the things or situations that trigger your anxiety so you have the opportunity to confront your fears in a safe space. Exposure comes in a few different forms, and a therapist can help you figure out the best path to take if you’re interested in any of these types of therapy.

  • In vivo exposure: This option is perhaps the most common type of exposure therapy for anxiety. It will have you directly face your fears so, for example, if you are afraid of dogs, a therapist might instruct you to visit a friend with a calm dog.
  • Imaginal therapy: This treatment asks you to imagine a situation or item that triggers your anxiety in vivid detail. Then, you mentally walk through different scenarios and explore the best ways to deal with these difficult situations.
  • Virtual reality therapy: Sometimes, therapists can use technology instead of your imagination to simulate a situation. For example, a therapist can use technology to have you drive a virtual car if you’re anxious about driving.

Music therapy

Music therapy involves using evidence-based musical interventions to help people overcome a host of mental health issues, including anxiety. It may look different from patient to patient, depending on their goals, but often this therapy includes listening and composing songs that relate to the emotions you are feeling. Music therapy can reduce blood pressure and stress, boost your self-esteem, and help you develop healthier coping strategies. You don’t need to be a budding rock star to participate in or benefit from music therapy, either — it’s effective for novices and professional musicians alike.


Group therapy

It’s cliché to say you’re not alone, but it can often feel that way for those struggling with anxiety. Group therapy can alleviate the negative thoughts surrounding your anxiety by encouraging communication and decreasing feelings of isolation that often accompany mental illnesses. During this time, a therapist will moderate the session, encouraging attendees to speak about their feelings and coping mechanisms, providing a space for members to lean on one another for support.

Dialectical behavioral therapy

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a form of CBT that asks practitioners to identify new ways to cope with painful feelings. DBT can also help you better tolerate stress so that your anxiety doesn’t affect your ability to live your day-to-day life. By working to regulate your emotions, you can start to feel more in control of them. Typically, DBT happens in a one-on-one setting, but many therapists also combine this treatment with a small group therapy session once a week or so.

The most important thing to know is that you are not alone, and anxiety is a treatable condition. Everyone is different so, unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all cure. Likely, you may need to try a couple of different types of therapy, and even a few different therapists, to find what works best for you. For more information about the treatment options available in your area, ask family and friends for a referral, request a list of in-network providers from your insurance company, or log onto Psychology Today.

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.

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