The American Psychological Association is recommending that employees be encouraged to “experience” their own anxiety, as opposed to feeling a compulsion to suppress it.
In a letter to the American Psychological Associations (APA) committee on occupational therapy (AT) this week, the APA said it has come to a consensus on the issue of “preoccupation with anxiety.”
The letter, authored by a number of psychologists, is meant to encourage psychologists to use the same terminology and methods used to help people cope with depression.
The APA, however, has not yet formally adopted the guidelines.
In an interview with ABC News, APA president and CEO Nancy Brown said the group is taking a “wait-and-see” approach to the new guidelines, but that it’s likely to take more than two years to adopt the new rules.
The APA’s position is that there is an increased risk of occupational stress for people with anxiety disorders and that this may lead to more anxiety.
For people with more severe anxiety disorders, “the association is not advocating for a blanket mandate of anxiety treatment,” Brown said.
“But we want to be very clear that the guidelines don’t apply to those people.”
According to the APAs guidelines, an employee who experiences symptoms of anxiety or panic disorder should have an individualized therapy plan designed to help them reduce their anxiety, manage their symptoms, and reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety.
The therapist should also consider other mental health interventions and strategies that may reduce the impact of stress on the employee.
The goal of the guidelines is to help employees with severe anxiety feel more comfortable in their jobs and the workplace.
It also states that employees who are “very anxious” and have a history of having experienced a mental health crisis are also at higher risk of experiencing occupational stress.
The American Psychological Assn.
says it’s aware of the concerns that the APAA has raised about the guidelines, which will be addressed in a forthcoming report to the organization.
The organization is recommending the guidelines be used “in a context that respects people’s unique needs and challenges.”