If you are looking for a talking therapy to reduce your anxiety it can be confusing because there are so many different types of them. Below are some of the most common ones so that you can choose which one seems most relevant to you. All of them help you to think about your anxiety in a different way and give you new strategies for reducing it.

As with many skills, different professionals work in different ways so it is always a good idea to talk to someone first to make sure that you feel comfortable with them. It is also important to find out if they think they can help you but that most importantly you think they can help you. Some people will give free initial consultations, others will have a chat over the phone and some may give a guarantee.


The basis of Mindfulness is to pay attention to what is happening in the moment and to be non-judgmental to that. This means that you are aware of thoughts and feelings in your mind and body and you accept them as they are.

This practice helps to reduce the worry about the past and present because you are only focused on the present moment and what is happening right now. It also takes away concern about certain thought or feelings being wrong because you simply accept whatever those thoughts or feelings are.

Mindfulness is usually taught as a course for a group, either in person or online. The length of the course will vary. However you could also find a professional who can teach it to you on an individual basis. As well as attending sessions it is important to practise at home to retrain yourself in your reactions.


Hypnotherapy has been around in various forms for thousands of years. You can get hypnosis downloads and CDs but it is usually most effective when done individually. The hypnotherapist can then address your specific anxiety.

The predominant format for a hypnotherapy session is for the hypnotherapist to help you achieve a focused, relaxed state. Then s/he may use an analytical approach to find out where the anxiety comes from or may concentrate on giving suggestions for reducing the anxiety and feeling differently in the future. Hypnosis helps you to change habits and the way you think about things. The number of sessions can vary quite a lot depending on the way the practitioner works and how strong your anxiety is.

You may also be taught self hypnosis to practise at home or given a hypnosis track to listen to which will reinforce what you have done in the sessions.


NLP stands for neuro linguistic programming. It looks at the way you communicate with yourself and others and how to alter the way you respond to feelings and situations. It uses a variety of techniques to challenge preconceptions and create a more successful way of responding to what happens in your life.

There are lots of books about using NLP and you may find introductory group courses. You are likely to get the best results though by seeing a practitioner and having individual sessions.

There are some common techniques used for anxiety such as the swish pattern, changing submodalities and the metamodel but usually more than one will be combined. Sessions are likely to be different for everyone because you will be looking at your individual responses and how to change them in a way that is appropriate for you.


Cognitive behaviour therapy looks at your thoughts, your feelings and reactions and how they all affect each other. CBT only tends to deal with the present so doesn't look at past experiences.

You will learn to challenge your thoughts and consider alternative ways of thinking that can be help to reduce anxiety. It helps to give you a lot more awareness of why you feel or think in a particular way and how to alter those thoughts and feelings.

You can do CBT by yourself by reading one of the many books or doing an online course. There are often group CBT courses too. However, as with most talking therapies, the best results are usually individual sessions with a practitioner. A course of CBT could vary from around 5 to 20 sessions. CBT is sometimes combined with Mindfulness or hypnotherapy.


Emotional Freedom Technique uses acupressure and a statement that describes how you feel. Tapping or rubbing on certain acupressure points whilst repeating the statement helps you to change unwanted feelings. The physical actions can initially put some people off because they are very different to what people immediately think of as a talking therapy. However, there are a lot of positive anecdotal reports.

There are lots of free resources online that explain how to use EFT. It can be used easily in groups but individual sessions can go into much more detail about the anxiety which could lead to longer lasting results. It is recommended to practise it regularly as a way to keep on top of anxiety.

Psychotherapy and Counselling

I have put these two disciplines together because they share a lot of similarities. The main difference is that psychotherapy will often be more analytical in its approach, spending more time looking into your past experiences and how they have affected you. Your thoughts and feelings will probably be much more deeply investigated and analysed than in the other therapies. Some of these therapists will be quite directive, suggesting things they think will be helpful for you whilst others will help yout find your own answers.

Both therapies are likely to be longer term than the others mentioned here. You would meet with the psychotherapist or counsellor for weekly sessions that in some cases could continue for months or years.

Author's Bio: 

Sharon Stiles uses hypnotherapy, CBT, NLP and EFT to help people make positive changes in their lives. More information about these techniques are at https://www.sharonstiles.co.uk/faq.asp