Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most widely used and effective treatment for anxiety disorders. CBT sessions aimed at treating anxiety focus on teaching the individual more adaptive ways of dealing with fear. Exposure therapy, or “baby steps” toward the feared object, is often used in phobia cases, and has been shown to be highly effective. CBT is effective in combating anxiety because it not only treats the symptoms, as with relaxation training, but also deals with the underlying thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes that have been show to be a risk factor for mood disorders. During therapy, the individual is taught essential coping and problem-solving skills that can be used in dealing with anxiety-triggering situations. During treatment, patients are taught to restructure thought patterns that lead to anxiety symptoms, thereby circumventing the anxiety. The techniques learned in sessions can be utilized in everyday life so that the benefits of counseling will extend beyond termination.
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