Generalized Anxiety Disorder

People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) often have difficulties comprehending their emotions (Mennin et al., 2002). Cognitive-behavioural approaches have been effective in treating GAD, however, many clients still experience significant residual symptoms. For these clients, I think an integrative approach with an emotional regulation perspective makes perfect sense.

People with GAD usually have to deal with troubling emotional materials and continuously experience intense anxiety. They also engage themselves in behaviours that usually bring negative interpersonal outcomes. They fear that others will criticize them and reject them for who they are, so they tend to protect themselves by not letting others know what they feel.

If we can try to understand the emotion regulation deficit in people with GAD, then, perhaps, we can try to comprehend the cognitive, behavioural, and interpersonal aspects of GAD. Emotional regulation involves analysing the clients’ emotions and ways to regulate and decrease the intensity of experienced emotions.

From my own experiences, I have witnessed that people with GAD or anxiety in general have greater sensitivity and have more intense emotional reactions. So, I think combining an emotional regulation perspective with other approaches like cognitive-behavioural therapy and mindfulness techniques can be very beneficial.


Mennin, D. S., Heimberg, R. G., Turk, C. L., & Fresco, D. M. (2002). Applying an emotion regulation framework to integrative approaches to generalized anxiety disorder. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 9(1), 85-90.