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Is Deep Breathing Reinforcing Your Client's Anxiety?



Today, I want to address the limitations of teaching deep breathing or emotional regulation as standalone techniques for Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).


The Pitfall of Deep Breathing and Emotional Regulation


While deep breathing and emotional regulation are valuable in managing acute stress, they often fall short when applied for GAD. Here's why:

  1. When clients rely solely on these techniques, it can unintentionally reinforce the notion that anxiety is dangerous and must be controlled immediately. This can perpetuate the cycle of anxiety, leading clients to believe that their anxiety symptoms are intolerable and must be avoided at all costs.

  2. Emphasising these methods may encourage clients to avoid situations where anxiety might arise. This avoidance can prevent them from confronting and processing their anxiety, ultimately maintaining or even worsening their symptoms over time.

  3. While these techniques can provide temporary relief, they do not address the underlying cognitive and behavioural patterns that sustain GAD. Clients may experience momentary calm but find that their anxiety quickly resurfaces.


The Importance of Exposure Work


Research consistently shows that effective treatment for GAD involves exposure work – confronting feared situations and sensations in a controlled, gradual manner. Exposure therapy helps clients learn that anxiety, while uncomfortable, is not harmful. It allows them to build tolerance and reduce their fear response over time. By incorporating exposure techniques, we can help clients:

  • Reduce avoidance

  • Build resilience

  • and reframe anxiety


However, not all exposure therapy is the same. For Generalised Anxiety Disorder, we use methods like Worry Induction and Decatastrophising. A prominent feature of GAD is intolerance to uncertainty and this is something we can address through the correct exposure methods too!


Special Offer: Enhance Your Practice with My Generalised Anxiety Bundle


To support you in delivering effective GAD treatment, I am excited to introduce a special one-week-only bundle deal. This bundle includes my 3 hour professional development training and a comprehensive therapy manual specifically designed for treating generalised anxiety. It's an invaluable resource to refine your approach and ensure your clients receive the best possible care. When purchased together, until the 30 May, I am offering it at the price of only $250. This represents over 20% in savings compared to purchasing these individually.  


This deal can only be accessed on the link below (until 30 May)!


Learn more about my CPD training here:




And my therapy manual here:





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