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Psychotherapeutic Techniques to Manage Anxiety in Adults

Margarita Woodbury, M.D.

Anxiety is a common mental health condition that affects many adults. While medication can be helpful for managing anxiety, psychotherapeutic techniques can also be effective in reducing symptoms and improving overall wellbeing. In this article, we will explore some psychotherapeutic techniques and medication that can help adults manage anxiety.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a type of therapy that focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. In CBT, a therapist works with the patient to identify negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to anxiety. The therapist then helps the patient develop positive coping strategies and teaches them how to challenge negative thoughts.

CBT can be effective for managing anxiety because it helps patients learn how to identify and change the thought patterns that contribute to anxiety. By replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, patients can reduce their anxiety symptoms and improve their overall mental health.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is a type of psychotherapy that is often used to treat anxiety disorders, and best known as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EMDR involves using bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements, hand tapping, or auditory tones, to help patients process traumatic memories and reduce their anxiety symptoms.

EMDR can be effective for managing anxiety because it helps patients reprocess traumatic memories in a safe and controlled environment, which can reduce the impact that these memories have on their daily lives. EMDR is typically used in combination with other psychotherapeutic techniques, and can be an effective treatment option for individuals struggling with anxiety or trauma.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is a type of therapy that involves gradually exposing patients to the things that trigger their anxiety. The goal of exposure therapy is to help patients become more comfortable with the things that cause anxiety, so that they can learn to manage their symptoms.

Exposure therapy can be effective for managing anxiety because it helps patients confront their fears and develop coping strategies. By gradually exposing patients to their fears in a controlled environment, therapists can help them learn how to manage their anxiety symptoms and reduce the impact that anxiety has on their daily lives.

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery, can be effective for managing anxiety. These techniques help patients relax and reduce tension in their bodies, which can help reduce anxiety symptoms.

Relaxation techniques can be effective for managing anxiety because they help patients learn how to relax and reduce tension in their bodies. By practicing relaxation techniques regularly, patients can learn to manage their anxiety symptoms and improve their overall mental health.

Decrease stress at work and home

In addition to psychotherapy and medication, there are also lifestyle changes that can help manage anxiety in adults. Decreasing stress at home and school can be helpful in managing anxiety. This can include identifying and reducing sources of stress, such as work or relationship issues, and developing healthy coping strategies such as exercise, meditation, and relaxation techniques. It is also important to establish a routine that includes regular exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep. By making these lifestyle changes, individuals can reduce stress and promote overall mental health.


Medication can also be helpful for managing anxiety in adults. Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), can be prescribed to treat anxiety disorders. These medications work by increasing levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate mood and anxiety. It is important to work with a healthcare provider to determine the best treatment plan for managing anxiety, which may include a combination of medication and psychotherapeutic techniques.

I can help you or your loved ones implement these skills and create a personalized approach to treatment. Contact me to begin your journey to wellness.

About me

Margarita Woodbury, M.D. is an integrative child, adolescent, adult psychiatrist & psychotherapist located in Walnut Creek, CA and serving patients across the San Francisco, Bay Area.


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