GAD therapy in London and Online
Living with anxiety might be overwhelming, especially if it can’t be linked to a specific event and situation. Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is underpinned by constant anxiety that comes from different sources and disrupts your daily functioning. If this is something you relate to, you should consider seeking generalised anxiety therapy. Our therapists at Therapy Central can help you develop coping skills to manage your GAD and teach you relaxation techniques. On this page, you can find helpful information about generalised anxiety disorder, its treatment options, – and book with a trained therapist to start working towards regaining control of your life.
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What is GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder)?
Do you find yourself constantly worrying but can’t tell why? Do you often feel like something bad is going to happen? Do you feel tense and on edge for no apparent reason?
We’re often being challenged by life stressors and it’s only natural to respond with negative feelings that motivate us to resolve the stressful situation. However, some people experience increased levels of anxiety that are disproportionate to what’s currently happening in their lives.
Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is marked by uncontrollable worry about several events and activities. GAD is like living in a constant state of alertness that intensifies even more when we realise there’s no one identifiable source that makes us feel so overwhelmed. While we all might experience anxiety at some point in our lives, people who suffer from GAD struggle to control their worry and suffer from symptoms that impair their functioning.
What are GAD’s Signs and Symptoms?
GAD is a long-term condition that interferes with daily functioning and might cause both psychological and physical symptoms. It is characterised by nearly constant worry that lasts for more than 6 months. If you suffer from GAD, you might experience a combination of the following signs:
Emotional and Psychological Signs and Symptoms of GAD:
- a feeling that something bad is going to happen and expecting the worst
- feeling restless and irritable
- difficulties concentrating
- excessive anxiety and worry
- a feeling of uncertainty
Physical Signs and Symptoms of GAD:
- muscle tension
- feeling nauseous
- heart palpitations
- unexplained pains
Behavioural Signs of GAD:
- difficulty starting and finishing tasks
- problems with concentration
- avoiding anxiety-inducing situations
- difficulty or inability to relax
- difficulty or inability to deal with uncertainty
How is GAD Maintained? The Vicious Cycle of GAD
GAD makes you feel out of control in many ways. Intense anxiety might disrupt your sleep and cause fatigue and poor concentration. Soon you might find yourself worrying not only about a potential threat but also about losing sleep and being unable to keep up with daily responsibilities.
When you have GAD, you might start to associate a fearful reaction with specific situations and avoid them in an attempt to decrease your worry. Before you know it, you might find yourself in a vicious cycle of anxiety – anxiety about anxiety.  For example, if you experienced fear or anxiety when you were out shopping, you might start to associate anxiety with going to the supermarket and avoid it to reduce distress. This strategy gives you an immediate sense of relief but serves as a short-term solution.
If you delay confronting distress, you may inadvertedly learn that symptoms go away when you remove yourself from an anxiety-inducing situation. As a result, you begin to constantly scan the surroundings for danger and turn to avoidance. For example, you might avoid going shopping altogether or rely on safety strategies such as asking a friend to go with you each time. The prospect of getting anxious in a different situation adds to the worry and worsens the symptoms. This mechanism traps you in a vicious cycle difficult to break away from. Luckily, with the help of the right therapist, the cycle can be reversed.
What’s the Difference Between GAD and Other Anxiety Issues?
Generalised anxiety disorder is often confused with other anxiety-related disorders as they all involve experiencing intense anxiety, often catastrophising, and a sense of lack of control over worries.
GAD vs Panic disorder
Panic disorder is characterised by recurrent and unexpected panic attacks. While GAD generates anxiety around everyday events without a specific reason, people who have panic disorder experience panic attacks that cause a strong increase in anxiety, and fear having future episodes. Discover more about Panic Attack Treatment.
GAD vs Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Unlike in GAD, people with OCD engage in repetitive behaviours to cope with anxiety which is caused by intrusive thoughts or images. Discover more about OCD Therapy.
GAD vs Social anxiety
In social anxiety, anxiety is centred around interactions with other people. Individuals who suffer from social anxiety experience an intense fear of being judged and tend to avoid social situations. While a person with GAD might feel anxious at the thought of socialising, their anxiety isn’t generally caused by the fear of evaluation. Discover more about Social Anxiety Treatment.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Anxiety in PTSD is a response to flashbacks or reminders of a traumatic event, whereas GAD is a constant anxiety that doesn’t have a specific source. Discover more about Trauma Therapy & PTSD Therapy.
GAD vs Phobias
A phobia is a debilitating fear triggered by specific stimuli. The most common phobias are a fear of spiders, flying anxiety, fear of small spaces and fear of needles, although it’s possible to develop an aversion to anything. Unless a person is faced with their phobia, they won’t struggle with anxiety daily. On the other hand, a person with GAD can experience worrying tied to both major and minor occurrences. Discover more about Phobias Therapy
GAD vs Health anxiety (hypochondria)
People with health anxiety experience intense anxiety about the possibility of suffering from a serious disease. The fear usually doesn’t go away even if a health professional confirms there’s nothing wrong with them. Discover more about Health Anxiety Therapy.
The main difference between GAD and other anxiety-related disorders is that GAD isn’t a direct response to an event and doesn’t have a specific source. This lack of knowledge can further fuel anxiety and increase worrying.
What Causes GAD?
The origins of GAD can’t be traced to a single cause – it is a product of an interaction between environmental and biological factors.
Here are the possible causes and predisposing factors:
- Genetics – having a first-degree relative who suffers from GAD makes you predisposed to developing it too. Heritability is estimated to be about 30%. 
- Chronic stress and trauma – GAD can be triggered by a major event such as loss or divorce. It can be also stress-induced and develop gradually.
- Biological factors – overactivity in the areas of the brain that are responsible for emotions, an imbalance of neurotransmitters that affect mental wellbeing
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Learned behaviour – if your parent struggles with stressful situations and exhibits anxiety symptoms, you may learn to mirror that behaviour and absorb the constant feeling of dread
- Caffeine consumption – you might be predisposed to caffeine intake and the risk of developing GAD due to familial factors. 
Personality traits – previous studies found a link between neurotic personality traits and GAD. 
When Should I Seek Therapy for GAD?
Do you feel at the mercy of your anxious thoughts that stop you from attending social events or completing everyday tasks? Do you feel constantly on edge, struggling to turn off your mind? Do you often tell yourself – “I have no reason to feel this worried” – while imaging the worst-case scenarios?
If you don’t remember the last time you felt relaxed and experience symptoms of anxiety that impair your functioning in one or more areas of life, you should consider getting professional help. If you’ve been struggling with anxiety for a while, you’re likely to be relying on coping skills to keep up with the demands of everyday life. Turning to short terms solutions such as alcohol or medication may be, for some, a form of escape, but as well as relaxation techniques, they are not enough to resolve the problem.
At Therapy Central, our GAD therapists aim to reverse the vicious cycle of anxiety and significantly minimise its effects on your wellbeing. Whether your anxiety is mild or significantly impairs your functioning, therapy can teach you to manage your symptoms and give you breathing space to feel like yourself again.
Contact Therapy Central today to speak to one of our experienced therapists.
Can Therapy Help with GAD?
Yes. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in particular was found to be effective in reducing symptoms of GAD.  Therapy helps decrease the time spent worrying and turns your attention to the present which allows you to feel more in control. The right therapy techniques can help you develop coping skills and improve overall functioning. You are likely to feel more relaxed, you’re more likely to be productive, make better decisions and feel more confident in social situations.
At Therapy Central, our therapists draw upon therapy approaches that are shown to be effective for treating GAD, the most popular being CBT. After the initial assessment, your therapist will discuss with you the approach that they think will be the most helpful to you. You can also request a specific therapy approach you would like your therapist to use.
How Do Therapists Treat GAD?
A common and effective approach to treating GAD includes a combination of techniques aimed at worrying thoughts, physical symptoms and unhelpful behaviour. Your therapist guides you through different methods that teach you how to recognise early cues of anxiety to prevent it from intensifying. For example, you’ll be asked to describe a stressful event and focus on your thoughts and physical sensations. Additionally, you’ll be taught to acquire new coping skills, such as relaxation techniques, that can be used in various stressful situations. When you learn more about your GAD and what triggers your anxiety, you can start using these strategies to cope with fear and worry outside of therapy.
What’s the Best Therapy Approach for GAD?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) aims to help you understand what makes you anxious and improve how you react to the triggers. CBT for GAD includes techniques such as the following:
Self-monitoring and early cue detection
This stage involves identifying internal and external signs of anxiety. Internal cues are, for example, anxious thoughts or muscles tension, while external cues refer to situations you find stressful (for example, going shopping, or having a work meeting). Your therapist might ask you to describe a stressful situation in details to help you bring attention to those cues. Eventually, you’ll be able to detect them early enough to stop the anxiety in its tracks.
Stimulus control (or Worry Time)
This technique aims to reduce the association between worry and triggers by learning how to postpone the worry. Your therapist will ask you to schedule a daily worrying period that will turn into a habit with enough practice. Learning to set some time aside for worrying increases a sense of control and reduces anxiety in the long run.
One of the most important parts of GAD therapy is practising breathing techniques and, at times, meditation and mindfulness. You’ll be taught how to let go of anxiety by tensing muscles and relaxing them, and by imagining a pleasant place you can mentally go to when you feel overwhelmed.
In this stage, you’ll be asked to imagine a stressful event and apply relaxation techniques learned in previous parts of the therapy. The goal is to minimise the anxiety response while exposing yourself to a stressor.
The cognitive approach, which is weaved in CBT therapy, focusses on targeting and challenging thoughts that make us anxious. This can include negative assumptions about yourself or predicting worse case scenarios – the aim is to stop seeing them as facts and adopt more realistic and balanced thinking.
What are the Benefits of GAD Therapy?
Therapy for generalised anxiety disorder reduces anxiety symptoms and improves your overall functioning. The benefits include:
- improved mood
- decreased worrying
- increase in productivity
- coping skills that can be applied to various stressful situations
- more positive outlook
- better quality of sleep
How Long Does the Treatment for GAD Last?
Initial results can be seen after 10 sessions, with treatment typically lasting up to 20 sessions. This includes about an hour (50 minute) of therapy on a weekly basis. 
Does Online Therapy Work for GAD?
Yes, online therapy can improve the quality of life and reduce the symptoms as effectively as therapy delivered face-to-face as it follows the same principles and utilises the same techniques.
For example, internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy was found to be effective in treating GAD symptoms. 
Tips To Get You Started Managing GAD
While it’s important to receive professional help to manage and improve anxiety symptoms, here are some tips that can help you make improvements in the meantime:
Keep a journal
When you struggle with anxiety, you learn to focus on the negatives and always expect the worst. Keeping a gratitude diary might help you redirect your thoughts from anxiety-inducing situations and encourage you to see things from a different perspective. Get into the habit of documenting things you’re grateful for every day, no matter how small they might seem. Additionally, try to write down your worries before going to bed. It will give your brain a designated time to ruminate and help you empty your mind when it has to rest.
Improve your diet
What we eat can have a big impact on our mood. Make sure you eat well-balanced meals and try to refrain from binge eating to cope with stress. Limiting consumption of sugar, alcohol and caffeine is also advisable.
Mindfulness is a great way of calming your mind by turning your attention to the present. The easiest way to practise is by focusing on one task at a time. For example, when you wash the dishes or take the rubbish out, concentrate on the task itself instead of thinking about what you have to do next. Similarly, when you’re outside or having a break from work, try to notice your surroundings. Pay attention to the sounds around you or focus on the shapes of the objects in front of you.
Whenever you feel anxious, use exercise as a distraction and to redirect your tension. You can go for a walk or do yoga. Any kind of movement is beneficial as our body releases endorphins that improve your mood and help you clear your mind.
Set small goals
Changing your bad habits is important to manage anxiety and it might be tempting to try to redesign your entire routine. However, setting too many goals can be overwhelming and make things worse. Start from committing to one daily goal and introduce more changes as you turn it into a habit. Don’t try to pressure yourself into improving straight away – the most effective change is gradual.
Our therapists specialised in GAD Therapy
All of our therapists are qualified psychologists, psychotherapists or counsellors registered with several professional bodies. These include the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), the British Psychological Society (BPS), as well as, BACP, UKCP and BABCP.
Our therapists use CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), psychodynamic, humanistic and integrative approaches tailored around your needs to help you deal with your unique challenges and reach your goals.
The Therapist l had was absolutely brilliant with me. He had patience with me and bit by bit l gained a little of confidence to try and get out and go on the buses.
He deserves an award and if l could l would in the beginning l thought how is this person going to get me back on public transport but he did he gave me the confidence l lost and now have back.
I will never forget him and what he has done for me. I wish him nothing but the best in his life.
My therapist was excellent. I highly recommend her and I am truly thankful for my sessions, I left feeling confident and positive.
The mental tools, systems and approaches I have been able to develop with her and use in my life have been hugely beneficial.
Thank you to all at Therapy Central.
The Therapist really gave me the space to talk and express my feelings and fears in a very comforting environment.
She was there not only to listen, but challenge my thinking, guide me during the uncertainty I was experiencing and give me useful and practical tips to improve my mental health and wellbeing. Highly recommended!
Working with the therapist has been a life-changing experience. Each session has been invaluable, helping me gain a good understanding of CBT methodology enabling me to incorporate ways to combat stress and anxiety in my daily life.
The Therapist shows that she really cares and has the ability to make you feel calm whilst discussing any personal issue.
Fees & Insurances
Therapy, Counselling and CBT sessions are 50 minutes long and are usually held at regular weekly time slots.
15 Minute initial
£105 - £120
Your Private Healthcare Insurance Provider
GAD Therapy Session in London & Online
If you are looking for therapy for Generalised Anxiety Disorder in London or Online, at Therapy Central we can help you learn the strategies you need to start managing your symptoms and break the vicious cycles which maintain them. As a result, you’ll be able to make the crucial changes to bring balance and fulfilment back into your life. No one should struggle with GAD on their own.
Get professional help and GAD Treatment in London or Online today. Contact us for a free 15 min consultation with an expert GAD Therapist to see if our help would fit your needs. You can also get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (+44) 020 348 82797.
COVID-19 notice: Online and Telephone Anxiety Therapy and CBT is now provided for continued care, support and safety. We’re here to help. No matter what.
What happens after I make an enquiry?
After receiving your enquiry we’ll contact you to organise a FREE phone consultation. You will be able to tell us more about your specific circumstances and needs and ask any questions you have. Then, if you want to proceed with therapy or counselling, we’ll match you with the therapist(s) with the best expertise to help you with your challenges and send you a list of their available appointment slots. If you’re satisfied with one of these, we can then go ahead and book your first appointment. You can also request to work with a specific practitioner and, depending on availability we’ll try accomodate this.
What happens at my first appointment with the therapist?
Your first session will likely be different than future appointments. You and your therapist will get to know each other and will begin to build a working alliance. It will be a chance to have the confidential space to express your circumstances, feelings and thoughts and being listened to with depth, attention, empathy and without judgement . Your therapist will likely ask you more about your reasons for seeking therapy, and any symptoms you’re experiencing. You may also be asked questions about your past and the history of your issues, as well as how they currently impact your life in the present. Finally, your first session may be a powerful place to discuss what you would like to achieve with therapy and agree on the length, methods and approaches of treatment.
Is online therapy effective?
If you choose online over in-person therapy rest assured that this has been proven to be just as effective as regular face to face therapy, and in some cases even more effective. In addition, choosing online therapy brings additional benefits, for example avoiding longer waiting times, greater flexibility with appointments and you won’t need to travel to our practice. You can enjoy online therapy from the comfort of your home.
How long the Therapy/counselling sessions last?
Therapy/counselling sessions last 50 minutes and are held at regular weekly time slots. On occasions we are able to allow some flexibility. This can be discussed with your therapist.
Do you offer reduced rates/concessions?
We offer low-cost rates at £60 per session to people with a low income, unemployed or students. Please highlight in your enquiry if you would like a concession rate and how you qualify for this. Depending on the availability of our therapists, we’ll do our best to accommodate your request.
Do you have a cancellation policy?
We have a 48 hours no-fee cancellation policy. However you will be charged for sessions missed without giving the full notice.
Our Practice in Central London
Our comfortable and confidential therapy rooms are conveniently located 3 min walk from Oxford Circus station, in Central London (see map below). Change starts with Talking!
More on the Vicious Cycle of anxiety: https://mft.nhs.uk/app/uploads/2021/01/Vicious-cycles-of-anxiety.pdf