Anxiety Management Training (AMT): Anxiety Treatment Review

What is Anxiety Management Training?

Anxiety Management Training is a formalised training approach to dealing with anxiety where the client is trained by the therapist on 5 technique areas. The client is then required to practice each of the five technique areas on a fairly continual basis. Essentially this form of Cognitive-Behavoural Therapy (CBT) has codified and packaged the five elements most therapists use with clients for anxiety, healinghealing illnessillness fear and worry related issues. However the process under Anxiety Management Training is systematic and progressive in that the treatment operates within a fairly strict system and the client is shown a progression of techniques as they develop.

The Aim Anxiety Management Training

The aim of Anxiety Management Training is to develop in the client the 3 S's:

  1. Self-control, herehere
  2. Self-confidence,and
  3. Self-management

These are normally developed through a system of training in five technique areas that the client needs to practice:


The 5 technique areas of Anxiety Management Training

  1. Breathing training
  2. Relaxation
  3. Assertiveness training
  4. Positive thinking and self-talk
  5. Thought stopping

1. Breathing Training

As there is a strong connection between anxiety states and our pattern of breathing, usually the first elements of Anxiety Management Training show the client how to control their anxiety through teaching a series of breathing patterns.

2. Relaxation.

As I often say on The Fear Course - "You can't be both relaxed and anxious at the same time". Anxiety Management Training normally incorporates training in a series of relaxation techniques to help the client to be able to relax at times when they would normally be anxious or stressed.

3. Assertiveness Training

To help the clients develop greater self-confidence most forms of Anxiety Management Training incoroporate training in assertiveness thinking and techniques. This helps the clients develop a range of responses to situates that are not agressive, submissive or manipulative, but are assertive so that they can directly express their thoughts, feelings and wishes.

4. Positive thinking and self-talk

This part of the training shows clients how to turn negative and self-defeating self-talk and thinking into more positive and constructive patterns of thought and behaviour. This not only helps anxiety sufferers to change negative and often self-destructive patterns of thinking and behaviour, it also enables them to control their own emotional outcomes.

5. Thought Stopping

Here clients are shown how to stop negative and self-defeatist / self-destructive thought in one step. The aim of this technique area is to enable the client to instantly stop negative thoughts before they start to effect the individual.



A number of clinical trials have been conducted comparing Anxiety Management Training with other anxiety treatments. The results vary in the trials from low effectiveness to very effective depending on the anxiety related issue being treated.

Low Effectiveness:

Smoking Reduction


Medium Effectiveness:

Decision making and problem solving


High level of effectiveness

Hypertension in Pregnancy


Go to A-Z list of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

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Beaver, C., Brown, R.A., & Lichtenstein, E. (2002) Effects of monitored nicotine fading and anxiety management training on smoking reduction. Addictive Behaviors Volume 6, Issue 4, 1981, Pages 301-305

Bloom, L.J., & Cantrell, D. (1978) Anxiety Management Training for essential hypertension in pregnancy. Behavior Therapy, Volume 9, Issue 3, June 1978, Pages 377-382

Durham, R.C. et al (1994) Cognitive therapy, analytic psychotherapy and anxiety management training for generalised anxiety disorder. The British Journal of Psychiatry 165: 315-323 (1994)

Goldberg, M. (1980) Clinical application of anxiety management and relaxation training: A multi-referral workshop. Clinical Social Work Journal. Volume 8, Number 4, 266-276.

Salami, S.O. (2004) Effects of problem-solving technique and anxiety management training on career indecision of school-going adolescents in Nigeria. Journal of Psychology in Africa, Volume 14, Number 2, 2004 , pp. 139-145(7)

Suinn, R.M. (1990) Anxiety management training: a behavior therapy. New York: Plenum Press.


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