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Effects of cognitive therapy and relaxation for generalized anxiety and panic disorder.

27 Sep

Researchers from the Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, compared the relative efficacy of cognitive therapy (CT) and relaxation therapy (RT) in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and panic disorder without agoraphobia (PD).

Two fixed-effects meta-analyses were conducted, for GAD and PD separately, to review the treatment outcome literature directly comparing CT with RT in the treatment of these conditions.

For Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Cognitive Therapy and Relaxation Therapy were equivalent. For Panic Disorder, however, Cognitive Therapy, out-performed Relaxation Therapy on all panic-related measures, as well as on indices of clinically significant change.

There is ample evidence that both CT and RT qualify as bona fide treatments for both GAD and PD, and that they are efficacious for both. The finding that CT and RT do not differ in the treatment of GAD, but do for PD, is a further refinement in our knowledge base, showing the importance of specificity of treatment to the disorder, even for 2 treatments within a CBT class, and for 2 disorders within an anxiety class.

Citation: Siev J, Chambless DL. Specificity of treatment effects: cognitive therapy and relaxation for generalized anxiety and panic disorders. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 2007 Aug; 75 (4): pages 513-22. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award