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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Event Details
Date: 28th June 2018
Venue: Sydney, NSW
CPD hrs: 7

Standard fee $275

Organiser: PDP
Further information

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Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is a chronic disorder characterised by excessive worry, accompanied by somatic symptoms such as restlessness, sleep disturbance, muscle tension and fatigue. It is one of the most common comorbid disorders, particularly with major depression and other anxiety disorders. GAD is also frequently associated with chronic pain conditions, medically unexplained symptoms and sleep disorders. Estimates of lifetime prevalence range between 4.0% and 7.0%. Because of its frequently chronic course, GAD has the potential to create greater disruption in peoples' lives than other anxiety disorders.

Historically, it has been less responsive to psychological treatment than other anxiety disorders, and until around 2000, studies reviewing treatment outcomes based on standard CBT interventions found limited improvements. In the last 15 years a number of conceptual models explaining the underlying processes in GAD have emerged, based on research with GAD patients. As a result, our understanding of the disorder and the processes that underlie it has expanded. Consequently there has been a significant transformation in CBT treatments for GAD. Many conventional therapies (including deep relaxation, cognitive disputing and problem solving) have given way to new, more innovative treatments. Many of these involve addressing cognitive processes rather than challenging the content of threat focused thoughts.

There is strong evidence suggesting that worry represents a coping strategy designed to avoid future unwanted events, or serves to prepare the person for the worst-case scenario. A common thread linking the conceptual models is that people believe worry is a helpful process. For this reason, challenging such ‘metacognitive beliefs’ about the benefits of worry is an important component of treatment. This workshop focuses on practical skills development, including the ability to recognise, assess and diagnose GAD, and to provide treatment based on problem formulation for specific clients. Teaching modalities will include case studies, role-play and video demonstrations. A range of contemporary CBT strategies will be demonstrated, and participants will have the opportunity to raise examples from their own experience. In addition to workshop slides, participants will receive a number of prepared handouts for use with clients who have GAD.

Learning Objectives

  • Screen clients for the presence of GAD, apply diagnostic tests when appropriate and make accurate diagnosis in relation to the disorder.
  • Describe the basic models that seek to explain the underlying processes that contribute to the onset and maintenance of GAD (based on research evidence), as well as the implications for treatment.
  • Develop a case formulation for individual clients who meet criteria for GAD diagnosis, including the factors that contribute to the maintenance of GAD for these clients.
  • Differentiate between challenging the content of threat focused cognitions (using traditional cognitive strategies), and addressing the processes that maintain worry and threat monitoring, using more contemporary CBT techniques.
  • Utilise a range of evidence based strategies to help clients with GAD address their urge to worry, and to reduce threat focused cognitions. These strategies include case formulation, psychoeducation, use of imagery and metaphor, behavioural experiments, worry awareness strategies, detached mindfulness, metacognitive techniques and worry exposure.


Sarah Edelman PhD is a clinical psychologist in private practice, specialising in the treatment of anxiety disorders. She worked at the University of Technology Sydney for many years, originally as a researcher in health psychology, and subsequently as a lecturer in the Master of Applied Psychotherapy program. In addition to her clinical work Sarah facilitates training programs for psychologists at the Black Dog Institute Sydney and the Australian Psychological Society. She also runs training programs for government and business organisations, and conducts public workshops on the use of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy at Sydney University Centre for Continuing Education. Sarah has published several articles on the use of CBT in professional journals and mainstream media. She is a frequent guest on 702 ABC radio, and her book 'Change your Thinking" is a best seller in the self-help genre.

Venue and date

UTS Short Course Rooms
Level 7, Building 10,
235 Jones Street,
Ultimo, NSW 2007

28th June 2018

9:15am – 4:30pm


Standard fee $275

Fully catered, and all resources are provided.

Students and new graduates may apply to attend at half price, apply here


Register online by clicking here

Ph: 1300 887 622

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers