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Types of Therapy for Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are common affecting about 19% of adults in the U.S. They negatively impact the quality of life of affected individuals. Individuals who have anxiety disorders often find themselves overwhelmed by their negative thoughts and worries, leading to distress that impairs their ability to function.  Anxiety disorders are mood disorders. Symptoms of anxiety and depression often coexist.

Psychologists are trained to diagnose and treat patients with anxiety. Psychotherapy is a well-established treatment to eliminate anxiety symptoms.  It is a collaborative process between the therapist and the patient who work together to identify anxieties and worries and develop practical skills and strategies to manage them. The goal is to help individuals manage and alleviate their anxiety symptoms.

CBT has been widely studied and is recognized as one of the most effective treatment approaches for anxiety. It focuses on helping patients to identify and challenge negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to anxiety. Dr. Susan Pazak will work with to challenge irrational beliefs, reframe negative thinking, and develop healthier coping strategies.

Exposure therapy is particularly effective for specific fears or phobias like the fear of flying, social anxiety disorder which is excessive fears of certain social situations, and panic disorder, a persistent fear that causes panic attacks . It involves gradually exposing the individual to the feared situation or object in a controlled and safe manner, helping them desensitize to their anxiety triggers.

Mindfulness-based therapies, such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), teach individuals to be present in the moment without judgment. These approaches can help reduce excessive worry and rumination, common in anxiety disorders.

ACT is a type of mindfulness-based therapy that focuses on helping individuals identify and accept their emotions, thoughts and sensations and encourages them to take action that is aligned with their values even when difficult thoughts and feelings are present. This therapy helps individuals detach from the struggle against their anxiety and engage in meaningful life activities.

DBT is grounded in cognitive-behavioral principles but also incorporates elements of mindfulness and acceptance. It combines techniques for emotion regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and mindfulness to help individuals build a life worth living and manage challenging emotions and behaviors.

IPT focuses on improving interpersonal relationships and communication patterns, and addressing specific life events that contribute to psychological distress. IPT has been found to be effective for a range of conditions, including depression, anxiety disorders (such as generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder), eating disorders, and more.

Psychodynamic therapy explores how unconscious thoughts, feelings and past experiences influence current anxiety. It aims to uncover underlying conflicts and difficulties to provide insight into the origins of a person’s anxiety symptoms.

These techniques teach individuals to control physiological responses to anxiety, such as muscle tension and heart rate, through relaxation exercises and breathing techniques.

Group therapy can be effective for individuals with social anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder. It provides a supportive environment where individuals can practice social interactions and receive feedback from peers.

With the rise of telehealth, many therapists offer online or virtual sessions for anxiety treatment. These can be particularly helpful for individuals who have limited access to in-person therapy.

Schedule a therapy session

The most suitable therapy depends on the individual’s specific type of anxiety, severity of symptoms, and personal preferences. Dr. Susan Pazak is trained in all psychotherapeutic modalities and will tailor her treatment approach to your individual needs. In some cases, a combination of therapies or therapy alongside medication may be recommended for optimal outcomes. Contact Dr. Pazak at her Laguna Nigel office or go to to schedule online.


At a Glance

Dr. Susan Pazak, MD

  • Bachelors, Masters and PhD in Clinical Psychology
  • Voted best psychologist in Laguna Niguel 3 years
  • Studied marital & sexual satisfaction in couples
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