Most people experience anxiety in some amount or form in their day-to-day lives, making it one of the most common experiences. However, for some people, this feeling of anxiety can be persistent, leading to constant worry, fear, and apprehension that can significantly impact daily life. Fortunately, several therapeutic approaches have proven effective in managing and reducing anxiety symptoms. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most effective therapies for anxiety.

  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy

CBT is a widely recognised and evidence-based therapy for treating anxiety disorders. CBT is based on the assumption that our thoughts influence the way we feel and behave. Thus, CBT focuses on helping people identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviours that contribute to anxiety.

Through structured sessions, a CBT therapist helps individuals with anxiety not only challenge but slowly change their negative thoughts, while also helping them to develop coping strategies to confront fearful situations. A few of the most useful CBT techniques for anxiety are:

  • Cognitive Restructuring- the process of identifying, challenging and replacing anxiety-provoking thoughts with more realistic and helpful ones.
  • Thought Stopping- The skill of being aware of anxiety-provoking thoughts and using mental prompts to interrupt the thought process

CBT equips individuals with practical skills to manage anxiety in real-life scenarios, making it highly effective for various anxiety disorders. 

  • Acceptance And Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT is a psychotherapeutic approach based on the assumption that people are not defined by their thoughts. Thus, ACT aims to reduce psychological distress by helping people accept their thoughts and feelings without judgment rather than trying to change them. ACT helps people with anxiety in the following ways:

  • ACT encourages people to accept their thoughts and emotions without judgment, reducing the struggle against anxiety.
  • The cognitive diffusion technique in ACT helps people understand that anxious thoughts do not always have to influence their actions, allowing them to differentiate between their thoughts, feelings and actions.
  • Mindfulness practices in ACT increase present-moment awareness, allowing people to observe anxious thoughts and feelings without getting entangled in them

  • Exposure Therapy (ET)

ET is a subset of CBT. Exposure therapy, as the name suggests, involves exposing people to anxiety-provoking situations, in the safe environment of a therapy room. Exposure therapy also involves a technique called systematic desensitization that has three steps. They are

  • Relaxation- The therapist empowers people with various relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, mindfulness and visualization, that they can use when they face an anxiety-provoking situation.
  • Listing- Where the person and therapist create a hierarchy of triggers ranging from least triggering to highly triggering
  • Exposure- Where the person is gradually exposed to anxiety-provoking situations in the presence of the therapist

With repeated exposure, people can reduce their anxiety over time, leading to an overall improvement in anxiety symptoms.

  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

DBT combines cognitive-behavioural techniques with mindfulness practices, emphasizing acceptance and change. DBT primarily focuses on changing negative and unhelpful behavioural patterns instead of trying to change one’s thoughts, DBT has four primary skills and concepts that are useful in treating anxiety:

  • Mindfulness- involves being in the present moment instead of worrying about the past or future
  • Distress Tolerance-Teaches skills to tolerate and cope with distressing situations without making them worse, reducing anxiety-driven reactions.
  • Emotional Regulation- empowers people with skills to cope with distressing emotions, effectively, reducing anxiety-related distress.
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness- It empowers people with social skills to interact with others, leading to better communication. It can be particularly helpful for people with social anxiety.

  • Other Approaches

  • Psychodynamic Therapy– Focuses on helping people understand how their past experiences might be leading to anxiety in the present
  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) helps with anxiety by addressing interpersonal issues that contribute to distress and improving relationships and emotional support. It can be particularly helpful with social anxiety


While there are various effective approaches to treating anxiety, it is important to note that anxiety manifests differently for everyone. As a result, the treatment approach is influenced by a variety of factors, including the individual’s specific diagnosis, the severity of symptoms, treatment objectives, and personal preferences. Thus, it is crucial to approach a trained mental health professional for appropriate treatment based on your diagnosis and needs.


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  2. ACT for Anxiety: How It Works, Examples, & Effectiveness. (n.d.). Choosing Therapy. Retrieved April 4, 2024, from
  3. CBT for Anxiety: How It Works & Examples. (n.d.). Choosing Therapy. Retrieved April 4, 2024, from
  4. DBT for Anxiety: Is it Effective? — Talkspace. (n.d.). Mental Health Conditions. Retrieved April 4, 2024, from
Dhruva Koranne

Dhruva Koranne has completed his Masters in Applied Psychology from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, BALM. He has been practicing as a counsellor since 2020 and works to create a safe space for clients where they can open up. In addition to this, Dhruva loves researching and studying about upcoming theories in the field of Psychology. Connect with him on Linkedin