The act of worry is contemplating what could go wrong in a future event, otherwise known as ‘what if-ing’.
People who worry excessively overuse the ‘what if’ question to try to cope with uncertainty. For example, when thinking about an upcoming job interview they might ask: What if there’s a traffic jam and I am late for the interview? What if I freeze up? What if I don’t know the answers to the questions? What if I’m laughed out of the interview room? This is known as Type 1 worry – worrying about a catastrophic outcome for a future event.
The person may then notice they worry too much, and worry about that – What if my worry harms me? What if I can’t stop worrying and have to quit my job? etc. This is known as Type 2 worry – worrying about being worried.
Treatment of an excessive worry includes examining the beliefs about the usefulness of worry, correcting beliefs regarding the controllability of worry, and learning techniques to reduce the frequency of worry. More effective problem-solving skills provide a good alternative for dealing with future uncertainty.
At Walters Green Clinical Psychology Practice, we offer cognitive and behaviour therapy to address excessive worry. Call us on 38708191 to book an appointment