Intervention in the treatment of nonspecific anxiety: a case study

Héctor Ciccotelli, Belén Nieto Centeno


We present a case to show the therapeutical techniques used in the treatment of nonspecific anxiety as well as their effectiveness. The patient was a 46-year-old woman who displayed the following clinical features: high activation when she was angry, anticipations of negative social valuation and depressive symptoms characterized by a low self-concept, guiltiness, as well as a deficit in getting satisfying rewards. The assessment instruments used were The Revised Symptom Check-List (SCL-90-R, Derogatis; 2000), adapted for Spanish population by González y cols. (1988), The Inventory of Situations and Responses of Anxiety (ISRA, Miguel-Tobal and Cano-Vindel; 1994), Beck Depression Inventory (BOl, Beck y cols., 1961) adapted and validated for its use with Spanish population by Sanz and Vázquez (1997). The DSM-IV criteria were also used to diagnose Anxiety disorder not otherwise specific. The therapy took place within 5 months in which different techniques were applied: Time organization, Cognitive restructuring, techniques from operating conditioning to improve her children's behaviour, Breathing and «the empty chair». After 5 months, the 'patient reported to feel much better: she was able to settle more stable family relations, as far as emotions and behaviours are concerned, to diminish the anger attacks, to have more flexible cognitive evaluations and she could also be accepted by the others. What is more, the results obtained in post-treatment tests support the self-perceived improvement she had, indicating a substantial reduction of the initial symptomatology.


Anxiety; depression; intervention; cognitive restructuring; «empty chair»



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