“Emotion-Focused Therapy For Generalized Anxiety”

By Kerry Morrison, Psy.D
January 1st, 2018

“Emotion-Focused Therapy For Generalized Anxiety”

By Jeanne C. Watson & Leslie S. Greenberg

American Psychological Association

Washington, D.C., 2017

Book provides novel approach to treating GAD

Reviewed by Kerry Morrison, Psy.D.

According to Watson & Greenberg, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a serious disorder that impairs functioning and quality of life for between 1.9-5.4 percent of the population, primarily women.

It is the most common of anxiety disorders, yet is often under-recognized with only one-third of those afflicted getting treatment. GAD can be treatment-resistant with only 50 percent responding to short-term therapy. The remaining clients do not respond or relapse.

Watson & Greenberg insightfully assert that the reason GAD is so difficult to treat is that individuals with this disorder are not aware of specific triggers to their anxiety, but see it as free-floating and random. This perspective precipitates a state of chronic worry and makes GAD more like a panic than other anxiety disorders such as social anxiety, phobias and PTSD.

This pearl of clinical wisdom alone is worth the price of the book, but when paired with an in-depth description of the Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT), this new volume presents a welcome and much needed approach to a difficult disorder.

EFT historically focused on depression and couples treatment, but this novel application to GAD is clinically sound and well-founded. This well written volume by two women who are both researchers and clinicians offers a strong theoretical foundation integrated with a comprehensive treatment approach.

The authors articulate their understanding of the origins of GAD in a compelling and insightful way that dovetails beautifully with EFT.

For those who are not familiar with EFT, the approach at its core is grounded in the work of Gestalt Therapy, utilizing Rogerian techniques such as the “Empty Chair.”

EFT also integrates aspects of SensoriMotor Psychotherapy (Ogden) with a focus on where emotional pain is experienced in the body. The book is well organized with many illuminating case examples that bring both the theory and practice of EFT to life. I found this book exciting and very enjoyable to read. It really stimulated my interest in using an EFT approach with the clients who are diagnosed with GAD. This is a must read for any therapist since so many of the cases we see in multiple clinical settings involve work with GADs.

Kerry Morrison, Psy.D., is a psychologist for the Department of Developmental Services in the Central/West Region of Mass., who also has a private practice, consults, teaches and provides training on a range of mental health topics.

Learn more about the book: Emotion-Focused Therapy for Generalized Anxiety

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