Lauren Stevenson, PsyD., Director
Anxiety and worry is a normal part of life. People with GAD, however, experience anxiety and worry in a way that interferes with their daily life. People with GAD are extremely worried about nearly all aspects of life, such as finances, relationships, disasters, work or school performance, among other things, even when there is little or no reason to worry about them. They are very anxious about just getting through the day. They think things will always go badly. At times, worrying keeps people with GAD from doing everyday tasks. One of the major defining features of GAD is that people experiencing the disorder have a very difficult time controlling the worry thoughts.
CBT for anxiety disorders aims to help a person develop a more adaptive response to a fear. The focus is on helping the client identify the thought patterns that sustain the feeling of anxiety, while helping them change the way they react to anxiety provoking situations. The goals is not to eliminate anxiety, as anxiety is an important emotion that alerts us to danger - but rather, to help people learn how to accurately interpret situations and to no longer avoid situations that make them uncomfortable, especially when such situations are vital to daily life, such as driving or interacting socially with others.