Anxiety Disorder

Cognitive Theory and Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Student’s name





Integrative approach

An integrative approach refers to the concept of utilizing two or more types or styles of counseling. This approach is vital since it assists in suiting the needs and expectations of every specific client at any given time. This model is better compared to other models since it has been discovered that in therapy, what works best for a particular person may not be the same style that will work for another individual. Thus the model is easily adaptable and flexible to cater to different individuals’ needs and expectations. Dr. Aaron T. Beck developed this model in the 1960s which started with the cognitive behavioral therapy that is used to treat depression, anxiety, phobias among others. This method is still being used today by therapists to get rid of stress and other cases that are related to psychiatric disorders. Dr. Kory Floyd later developed the second component of the model called experiential therapies which are mainly used in treating addiction issues, family issues among other psychological problems (Corey, 2016). Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps an individual to eliminate or reduce pathological emotions while experiential therapy helps an individual to work on healthy emotions and live a normal life again.

The integrative approach has proved to be very beneficial for both the counselor and client. Through this, one is able to explore different modalities of therapy that are utilized in combination for the purpose of meeting the needs of individuals who have complex problems. There are several benefits that can be attained by the use of an integrative approach which includes better client motivation, improved therapeutic alliance, better therapeutic gains, increase in professional satisfaction among others. Ultimately this will lead to greater potential for success through treatment since it enables a holistic approach through addressing all aspects of a person’s life situation.

Incorrect application of Integrative approach

The integrative approach has been applied incorrectly in various instances. One example of incorrect application is in the treatment of borderline personality disorder and how it has been misapplied. The use of “empathic listening” and active surrender can be seen as early signs of abusiveness. In order to deal with a person with BPD, it is vital to understand the concept of boundaries (Corey, 2016). Boundaries are not an outcome but a goal towards which behaviors should be striving toward. Additionally, there must be a differentiation between people’s needs and desires from their actual needs and desires that might not seem that important or desirable on paper but are crucial for them to attain the outcome they desire.

Correct application of the integrative approach

The correct application of the integrative approach involves a process in which practitioners utilize a number of different therapies. In this way, the therapist/client creates a personalized treatment plan that addresses the specific needs of their client. In general, integrated approach therapy is much more effective than anyone therapy in isolation because it looks at the whole person rather than just their presenting problem or illness. It is for this reason that clients who seek out an integrative outlook often find relief from mental anguish and physical pain that cannot be found elsewhere

The approach involves applying the whole-person approach to a person’s life-cycle. This is defined by an individual giving attention and consideration to all of the physical, psychological, and spiritual needs and interests of an individual. This approach has been broadly studied in recent years and it has been found this method produces more successful outcomes than other methods. The central activity for this type of care is the promotion of health while also promoting happiness. These concepts are addressed through practices such as exercise, behavioral therapy, education on various topics such as nutrition or spirituality, proper sleep habits, positive psychology practice models such as gratitude journals, or cognitive therapy models like client homework assignments (Crumb & Haskins, 2017).

Cognitive Theory

The cognitive theory refers to a model that proposes that a person’s behavior and emotions are a result of their perceptions and thought processes. A client can be helped to change their thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors by investigating the ways in which they perceive themselves, other people, and the world around them. The counselor helps them explore through questioning. A cognitive theory approach in counseling assumes that all thoughts are meaningful and should be explored (Schunk & DiBenedetto, 2020). Thoughts are one’s mind’s processing system for information so it is said to be natural for thinking to take place without any interference. Thoughts are not necessarily true but they can lead to feelings of negative emotions like depression or anxiety which would then lead to maladaptive behaviors like self-harm or substance abuse.

The main concept of cognitive therapy is that thoughts are not the cause of stress or anxiety, but rather they are the result. It can be helpful to view anxiety or stress as a symptom, which is an indicator of what your mind is doing in response to some sort of stressor. From this perspective, it becomes easier to identify challenges and find ways to avoid them. Cognitive therapy has evolved into an increasingly popular treatment method for many different mental health disorders including depression, anxiety disorders, trauma-related conditions, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder.

Strengths and weaknesses of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

The main strength of the cognitive theory approach in counseling and treatment is that it helps people to understand their thoughts. In particular, the theory focuses on how patterns of thoughts can lead to dysfunctional behaviors. It also guides people towards ways of changing thinking styles that may be interfering with accomplishing goals or solving problems (Schunk & DiBenedetto, 2020).

The main weakness of the cognitive theory approach in counseling and treatment is that there are many other factors involved in a person’s mental health, such as biological causes, interpersonal causes, and environmental causes. While this approach does focus on addressing problematic thinking patterns, it doesn’t offer a holistic view of what may be going on for an individual experiencing mental health issues.

The cognitive theory approach views human nature as an information processing system. It examines the way people gather, store, retrieve, uses, and share information. This theory is based on the idea that the mind is a computer-like system that processes information. It has some similarities to the behavioral approach, though it is more concerned with mental activity than with observable behavior. The human-computer metaphor is one of the best-known examples of the cognitive approach. First proposed by anthropologist Edward Tylor in 1871, the idea that humans are essentially biological computers may sound quaint today, but at first, it had a huge impact on the study of the mind. The notion of the human as the computer has always served as an analogy to investigate inner thoughts and feelings through empirical data collection procedures on mental activities through introspection, sentence completion tasks, verbal protocols, etc. Although originally intended as a metaphor for understanding how people think, this view has become rooted in our current views about psychology and philosophy.

The cognitive theory approach is also vital in describing how human change occurs. The cognitive theory approach views human nature as changeable. This is the opposite of the psychodynamic theory that sees people as being fixed in their ways of thinking and therefore difficult to change. Cognitive theorists believe that by making changes in one’s behavior, thoughts, or feelings through the use of therapy, a person can be significantly changed. The cognitive theory is also more optimistic than psychodynamic theorists about how therapy will work with patients who have had significant developmental delays over their life span due to physical or psychological trauma or abuse. Psychodynamic approaches are less likely to be effective with these kinds of patients because they are typically seen as being fixed in their ways and resistant to change.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This model refers to a psychotherapeutic treatment designed to assist individuals to learn how to identify disturbing and destructive thoughts that tends to impact an individual’s emotions and behaviors negatively. Generally, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is summarized in two parts (Robertson, 2018). The first part is to identify errors encoded in thoughts, the second is to learn how to change these errors through techniques known as cognitive restructuring. These thoughts may be problems with emotions, behavior, or both. Therefore, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a brief, directive, and directive form of psychotherapy. Applying CBT to a unique problem, a therapist will first make use of a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) diagnosis to ensure the individual suffers from some type of disturbance or comorbid disorder that must be treated. The therapist then uses the diagnostic information to help generate some type of combination of cognitive-behavioral theory as well as an emotional/behavioral method that will best work on the specific person (Stefan, Cristea, Szentagotai Tatar, & David, 2019).

Therefore, the critical role of the cognitive theory is evident in the CBT model of treatment. For example, cognitive theory dictates that depression is a result of a negative interpretation of a situation. In this case, the cognitive event would be that the individual believes that he/she is to blame for not being able to find work or get money, which leads to feelings of guilt and worthlessness. In contrast, CBT techniques would aim at disputing this negative belief which could potentially change one’s emotional state. The evidence for cognitive behavior theory is present in many different areas of psychology like neuropsychology and social psychology. However, it can also be found in family therapy as well as psychotherapy programs with children and adolescents using DBT techniques with adolescents suffering from depression.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder refers to a mental health disorder that makes it hard to control worry, even when there’s no pressing reason for it. Many people with GAD worry about everyday life and routine issues like work, school, health, and relationships. The disorder can make you feel afraid or uncomfortable in social situations such as meeting new people or participating in a project at work because you’re worried about what others think of you. GAD is different from the more commonly known phobias because those disorders typically involve specific fears that can be avoided through avoidance or safety precautions such as staying away from a threat. A mental health professional might diagnose generalized anxiety disorder after they conducted an interview and other tests to decide whether the symptoms are excessive and persistent enough to invade your life over a long period of time.

Brief Historical Background of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

The third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders first introduced Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) as a diagnostic category in 1980. This new category provided a significant advantage over the other anxiety disorders in that GAD could be diagnosed using only interviews with the person who is experiencing anxiety. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) was first discovered by William G. Mowrer in 1908. It was initially thought to be an entirely new entity, but it is now known that the symptoms overlap with other anxiety disorders like panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). GAD is diagnosed by observing symptoms like persistent worry about everyday life events, extreme anxiety in social situations, and excessive care over safety and security detail (Leonard & Abramovitch, 2019). It was not until 1996 that we began to see a shift in the diagnosis of GAD as we recognized it as a biological disorder rather than a psychological one due to its correlation with adrenaline and noradrenaline levels during moments of stress.

Generalized anxiety disorder reflects excessive, unrealistic, prolonged, and often uncooling anticipations of danger that are typically not grounded in reality. It is characterized by feelings of fearfulness or dread lasting for more than six months. Sufferers may also experience irritability, restlessness, muscle tension, sleep problems, and fatigue. This disorder can create social or work-related difficulties because sufferers are constantly anticipating all types of negative events which cause them to worry excessively.

Current thinking on the pathogenesis and mechanisms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

The current thinking on the pathogenesis and mechanisms of Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) comprises the current research, literature, arguments, and arguments. Current thinking on the pathogenesis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is still in its infancy. There are many different theories that have been suggested to explain this condition. The most widely accepted theory is that anxiety disorders are caused by an imbalance of cortical arousal levels and anxiety response thresholds. This theory suggests that people who have GAD experience excessive arousal which leads to over-arousal resulting in a hyperactive cortical response leading to the development of the disorder (Sutherland-Stolting, Liao, Kraus, Campbell, & Goddard, 2020).

The course of development of Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) incorporates the start and persistence of the disorder in an individual. This disorder begins in childhood or adolescence with some degree of social withdrawal which subsides with age. A later onset GAD may be associated with school performance, family discord, and sexual difficulties, developmental regression, and personality changes. People suffering from GAD see themselves as chronically ill in ways that are not based on the objective reality of their condition.

What are the long-term effects of Generalized anxiety disorder?

– Insomnia or sleep loss

– Bouts of depression

– Family discord

– Substance abuse problems

– Social maladaptation

“Co-morbidity was consistently present in both treatment-seeking and non-treatment seeking groups”.

CBT Role in diagnosing Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Compared to other psychological treatments, CBT is the best for treating individuals with Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It assists in the diagnosis and analysis of the symptoms of the mental illness. CBT provides a proactive approach to tackling the mental illness and leaving behind any detrimental effects that it may have on the individuals life leading to success in life. To begin with, CBT helps handle the symptoms that are associated with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) (Borza, 2017). The best step is to understand GAD and how it affects an individual’s life. A difference between GAD and other forms of anxiety disorders is that GAD is characterized by fears and worry regarding situations, situations, or situations that are frequent & difficult to control or bear (Green & Palmer, 2019). These situations can be anything from experiencing feelings of anxiety, specific thoughts of panic attacks, physical symptoms such as shaking, fainting, etc., emotional responses such as anger, depression, etc.

Cognitive theory has proved to be vital in the management of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), according to research conducted by the Mood Disorders Psychotherapy Research Group (2009). Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) emphasizes exposure and response prevention, cognitive restructuring, and exposure with ritual prevention. It asserts that GAD is not due to an organic brain disorder, but rather results from negative thinking styles. Anxiety is further increased by the misinterpretation of physical reactions (e.g., feeling shaky or having difficulty breathing) as meaning something serious must be happening in the body – leading to a higher frequency of checking for medical problems or calling various health care providers. In other words, GAD sufferers exist in a vicious cycle of anxiety-causing behavior followed by more anxiety-causing behavior (Borza, 2017).


Borza, L. (2017). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for generalized anxiety. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience, 19(2), 203.

Corey, G. (2016). Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy, Enhanced. Cengage Learning.

Crumb, L., & Haskins, N. (2017). An integrative approach: Relational cultural theory and cognitive behavior therapy in college counseling. Journal of College Counseling, 20(3), 263-277.

Green, S., & Palmer, S. (Eds.). (2019). Positive psychology coaching in practice. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Leonard, K., & Abramovitch, A. (2019). Cognitive functions in young adults with generalized anxiety disorder. European Psychiatry, 56(1), 1-7.

Robertson, D. (2018). The philosophy of cognitive—behavioural therapy (CBT): Stoic philosophy as rational and cognitive psychotherapy. Routledge.

Schunk, D. H., & DiBenedetto, M. K. (2020). Motivation and social cognitive theory. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 60, 101832.

Stefan, S., Cristea, I. A., Szentagotai Tatar, A., & David, D. (2019). Cognitive‐behavioral therapy (CBT) for generalized anxiety disorder: Contrasting various CBT approaches in a randomized clinical trial. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 75(7), 1188-1202.

Sutherland-Stolting, A., Liao, B., Kraus, K., Campbell, C., & Goddard, A. W. (2020). Pathogenesis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. The American Psychiatric Association Publishing Textbook of Anxiety, Trauma, and OCD-Related Disorders, 181.