A Contemporary View of Applied Relaxation for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Sarah A. Hayes-Skelton, Lizabeth Roemer, Susan M. Orsillo, Thomas D. Borkovec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Applied relaxation (AR), originally developed by Lars-Göran Öst, is a long-standing, efficacious treatment for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). While newer treatments are continuing to be developed, AR remains one of the most efficacious treatments for GAD. However, AR has received less in-depth attention more recently, particularly in terms of potential mechanisms of action. This article is written to honor the development and history of AR and to highlight the ways that it has continued to be adapted. In this article, AR treatment strategies are presented, which include: noticing early signs of anxiety, learning relaxation skills, and applying relaxation at the first sign of anxiety. Then, additional adaptations to AR are presented along with recommendations of how AR may be enhanced by understanding potential mechanisms of change. Finally, recommendations are made for the continued evolution of AR as a powerful and efficacious treatment for GAD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-302
Number of pages11
JournalCognitive Behaviour Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology


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