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Treatment For Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Jun 25, 2008
One of the most common reasons that clients seek treatment at my NLP and CBT practice Edinburgh, is for anxiety and panic related problems, such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks and agoraphobia. Often, panic attacks are associated with other conditions such as generalized anxiety, phobia or depression. In this case, the appropriate course of action is to address these underlying issues first - the panic attacks usually subside, as these other issues are resolved.

Having worked in the NHS as a senior mental Health Occupational Therapist, I tended to come into contact with people experiencing what is considered to be severe mental health problems. It is these people that the mental health system and services are geared towards supporting and rightly so. However, until entering private practice, I was unaware of the number of people living day to day with the often, debilitating effects of panic and anxiety disorders, with what appears to be, little or no support from overstretched NHS services.

NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) recommends Cognitive Therapy for the treatment of anxiety, panic attacks and panic disorder. Their research has shown it to be more effective than any drug treatments. Therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) involve the patient seeing a therapist on a one-to-one basis for hour-long sessions. The total treatment course is typically between 6 and 12 sessions, with one session a week.

During NLP and CBT Edinburgh, I work with people experiencing anxiety, panic attacks and agoraphobia, usually over an 8 week period, seeing them once a week. This is flexible, and more or less sessions are carried out depending on the unique need of the individual. Obviously reducing the cost of treatment for the client is to be aimed for, particularly as I often work with people who have stopped working due to their problem.

In between sessions the client is given homework to complete. Support and encouragement via email is provided, if required.

What will you achieve through having NLP and CBT therapy?

1. No More stinky thinking!

At CBT and NLP, Edinburgh, people are supported to identify and change the distorted thinking patterns that maintain anxiety. Behind panic attacks and anxiety are negative thoughts. These thoughts alone cannot cause anxiety, but your belief in the truth of these thoughts, can cause anxiety. The therapist works with the client to reduce belief in such thoughts, this in turn reduces anxiety.

2.Building your hierarchy

This involves desensitizing your anxiety through gradual exposure to your feared situations. The therapist offers practical support and activities may be carried out in the community, during these sessions.

3. Learning strategies to master your anxiety and panic

Clients that come for NLP and CBT Edinburgh are taught specific techniques that can be used and that must be practiced in between sessions. The challenge is using these techniques during times when you are experiencing heightened panic and clients are supported to become competent at this. Learning strategies can involve NLP techniques, such as sub-modality work, anchoring and clean language techniques.

4. Changing your focus

Just one of the things that you will learn is to change your focus towards what you do want, rather then what you don't want. One of the things I have found is that people with anxiety and panic problems invest a large amount of their time trying to avoid and move away from anxiety and panic. This is understandable. However, what you will learn is that you are actually focusing on anxiety and panic, merely by the language and internal dialogue that you are using. You will be taught to focus on what you are trying to achieve and will immediately experience benefits in how you feel emotionally.

I have found that clients that are really committed to mastering their anxiety and panic can experience the change they desire, by sticking to an intense CBT/NLP programme and practicing in between sessions. It is rewarding for me to work with people with these problems because the results are usually very positive.
About the Author
Karen Hastings is a senior mental health Occupational Therapist and practices in Edinburgh. Karen is also a master NLP practitioner and uses a range of cognitive approaches to support people in overcoming anxiety, panic and agoraphobia. Karen is registered with the HPC. http://www.karenhastings.co.uk
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