ANXIETY & STRESS MANAGEMENT GROUPS
Broadly speaking, there are six different types or manifestations of anxiety disorders: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, Social anxiety (Or social phobia) and Specific Phobia.
The model used at the Princeton Group Support Center combines four approaches, all of which have been empirically tested and shown to be effective in the treatment of these six categories of anxiety: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal group psychotherapy, mindfulness training and lifestyle modification which includes such activities as exercise, nutrition, stress management and time in nature. CBT techniques have been used for over fifty years and constitute a well tested and effective treatment for anxiety. In recent years a new model of CBT, the Transdiagnostic model, has also come been proved highly effective. the Transdiagnostic model is based on the understanding that the underlying components of anxiety are essentially the same regardless of the type of anxiety with which one may suffer, and that while each does have it’s own particular presentation, they can all be effectively treated using the same CBT techniques which are designed to reduce or eliminate the physical symptoms of anxiety and treat the underlying cognitive fears and distortions which give rise to them.
Interpersonal Group Therapy provides a setting and resources conducive to the reduction of anxiety. Since anxiety is often interpersonal in nature, the kind of anxiety that you experience in the world is going to occur in the group. Therefore, group members have the opportunity to work through those relationships and that anxiety in a different way within the context of the group. Being in a group affords participants the opportunity to reduce isolation, learn from and help others, learn more effective social skills such as active listening and assertiveness training and increase hope and optimism.
Mindfulness training is a 2,500 year old meditation technique derived from Buddhist practice. It promotes awareness, compassion and an ability to live fully in the present moment which allows us to enjoy our lives in the most meaningful fashion. By learning to view thoughts and feelings from a more relaxed and neutral perspective we can learn to reduce our reactivity to them. This allows us to regain a sense of control over our mental activity and to ultimately let go of negative and destructive patterns of thought. Mindfulness has now been validated in hundreds of clinical studies as a treatment for anxiety, depression and a range of other disorders.
Lifetsyle training is absolutely essential in the treatment of anxiety and very often goes undiscussed in treatment planning. How we treat ourselves physically, emotionally and spritually provide the foundation for how we live, the choices we make and our capacity for adapting to the challenges of life. Adequate exercise reduces stress and promotes endorphin realease which counteracts anxiety. A balanced, whole food diet, low in caffeine and other stimulants allows our nervous system to respond to adversity in a more balanced fashion and getting enough rest enables our brains to react differently to potentially anxious moments. Spending time in nature promotes a sense of calmness and connection which also reduces symptoms of anxiety and stress management helps keep us out of the fight or flight state that is the hallmark of anxiety diorders. By helping group members to set clear goals for achievable success in these areas we can dramatically increase the likihood of reducing anxiety levels faster and more completely.
For More information on the Princeton Group Support Center please click here.