Anxiety Management Skills

It can be useful to provide anxiety management strategies early in therapy because (1) they can give patients a degree of control over their distress, and (2) these techniques are relatively simple to use. Be aware that most patients experience considerable distress during the initial sessions because they are confronting and expressing upsetting memories. The utility of reducing arousal in the acute posttrauma phase is also indicated by evidence that acute arousal is associated with chronic PTSD (Shalev et al., 1998). Giving the patient some tools to assist mastery over the acute anxiety can provide both a sense of relief and a motivation to comply with more demanding therapy tasks. Anxiety management often involves progressive muscle relaxation (Ost, 1987) and breathing retraining, which aims to achieve 10 breaths a minute. Although these techniques are simple, therapists need to be aware that focusing on bodily sensation or on breathing can trigger reminders of the trauma. First, individuals who experienced panic, suffocation, or choking need to be approached with caution because muscle relaxation or breathing exercises can elicit flashbacks. Second, requesting recently traumatized people to close their eyes can be a threatening experience if they have concerns about losing control. Therefore, it may be better to conduct these exercises with eyes open.

Anxiety and Depression 101

Anxiety and Depression 101

Everything you ever wanted to know about. We have been discussing depression and anxiety and how different information that is out on the market only seems to target one particular cure for these two common conditions that seem to walk hand in hand.

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