VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.
Understanding Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Effective Case Conceptualization Using the Temporal/Contextual Model
Matthew Snyder and Lynn Zubernis
This article examines generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) using a new holistic case conceptualization model, the Temporal/Contextual Model, which was first presented in the authors’ book, Case Conceptualization and Effective Interventions for Counselors. Clients with GAD can present a challenge for counselors because of their deeply ingrained belief systems, the pervasiveness of the anxiety symptoms, and problems with emotional regulation, which may be long-standing. Having a thorough understanding of both the symptoms of the disorder and the environmental factors contributing to the development and maintenance of the disorder are critical for gaining an understanding of the client’s problems, establishing a strong therapeutic alliance, and helping the client confront and begin to recover from a disorder that impacts many aspects of the client’s life. However, counselors are often overwhelmed by the volume and breadth of information needed to understand a client with GAD and struggle with making sense of precipitating and contributing factors. In this article, we describe a new case conceptualization model that helps counselors compile, organize, and analyze intake information, examine the various bio-psychosocial factors that put individuals at risk for anxiety disorders or help maintain them, and thus more effectively help clients dealing with the challenges of GAD.