A Disorder-Specific, Cognitively Focused Group Treatment for Childhood Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Development and Case Illustration of the No Worries! Program

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Abstract

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a highly prevalent, chronic, and costly mental disorder in children, and there is a comparative lack of research on specific treatments for GAD, relative to other anxiety disorders. Furthermore, treatment programs for child GAD, unlike those for adults, are almost uniformly transdiagnostic in nature and do not specifically target the cognitive variables (e.g., intolerance of uncertainty, negative beliefs about worry, cognitive avoidance, and negative problem orientation) demonstrated to be correlated with the disorder. However, helping children to understand and address these rather complex cognitive factors is difficult. This article describes the development of a disorder-specific, cognitively focused group treatment program for child GAD (the No Worries! Program) that aims to target the cognitive variables and symptoms correlated with the GAD. It provides a detailed discussion of the strategies taught to children and highlights some of the challenges involved. A case study is presented to demonstrate the feasibility of achieving successful outcomes with complex presentations.

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