Anxiety Management Program (for adults)

What is the Anxiety Management Program?

ServicesADAO’s Anxiety Management Program (AMP) was first launched in 1998, and was created in partnership with a psychiatrist at the Royal Ottawa Hospital. The AMP offers a 14-week structured educational workshop experience for individuals who wish to learn how to manage their anxiety.

The program is not a group therapy program. The AMP aims provide individuals with information, resources and techniques that are helpful to manage and reduce symptoms of anxiety. Throughout the program, participants will learn about anxiety, and will be provided with a toolkit of supportive resources for anxiety self-management. The toolkit, like the program itself, is based on the different ways that people understand and seek to address anxiety.

ADAO’s Anxiety Management Program is based on a holistic approach, and includes complementary theories and strategies from cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) methods, therapeutic tools, and wisdom traditions / spirituality. The AMP includes instruction in evidence-based methods of anxiety management, including relaxation, meditation, self-compassion and gratitude skills. ADAO does not “promote” one particular approach to managing anxiety, but rather, affords participants a toolkit of resources.

How is the program structured?

The Anxiety Management Program is structured and follows a proprietary workbook created by ADAO. Throughout the program, participants develop:

  • Knowledge about anxiety conditions
  • An understanding of the impact of nutrition and stress on symptoms of anxiety
  • Self-management techniques including deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness
  • An understanding of how automatic thoughts, unconscious beliefs, and thinking styles contribute to anxiety
  • Effective communication skills
  • The ability to use graduated exposure to reduce symptoms of anxiety
  • Goal setting and follow-through
  • Positive coping strategies to replace negative coping strategies
  • Assertiveness skills (e.g., setting boundaries, constructive criticism)

What Makes ADAO’s Program Unique?

  • ADAO’s Anxiety Management Program allows individuals to self-manage their anxiety as well as develop peer-to-peer support networks within their community.
  • The CBT group modules teach individuals how to identify and modify their thoughts, behaviours, and emotions, as well as how they relate to others and their environment.
  • The group provides participants with the opportunity to witness others’ successes, practice new behaviours, develop a social support system, problem-solve, and receive feedback and support on their developments and setbacks.
  • ADAO provides participants with a safe environment to practice evidence-based skills to help manage anxiety.

What can I expect?

Each 14-week AMP is run by two ADAO Facilitators, and includes a maximum of 20 participants. ADAO Facilitators are specifically trained in the program, and have a background in health, social services and/or education (e.g., counselors, nurses, social workers).   Before the start of each program, a registration night gives participants the chance to meet the Facilitators and other program participants, to learn about the program and to ask any questions they might have.

Each of the 14 sessions is delivered on a weekly basis, from 6:30pm to 9:00pm. Each session follows a similar structure: (1) Check-in Activity; (2) Breathing or mindfulness practice; (3) Presentation and interactive exercises; (4) Homework / Gratitude Journal; (5) Check-out Activity. During each session, ADAO Facilitators share information with participants through short lectures, diagrams and examples. Participants are invited to contribute in group discussions, as well as small group and individual activities. The Facilitators use a variety of different methods to share information with, and to teach skills to, participants.

What are the topics for each week?

Session 1 – Introduction and Definitions
Session 2 – Mindfulness
Session 3 – Relaxation
Session 4 – Physical Health & Nutrition
Session 5 – Identifying Emotions
Session 6 – Managing Emotions
Session 7 – Cognitive Behaviour Techniques – Part I
Session 8 – Cognitive Behaviour Techniques – Part II
Session 9 – Cognitive Behaviour Techniques – Part III
Session 10 – Working With Self-Resistance & Avoidance
Session 11 – Communicating More Effectively
Session 12 – Community
Session 13 – Spirituality
Session 14 – Celebration

Who can participate?

The group is directed primarily at individuals over 18 years of age with anxiety, to ensure that interventions and program content are appropriate for their needs. However, all individuals who wish to learn more about anxiety management are welcome to participate.

While Participants are given various opportunities to share and reflect within the group context, participants always have the option to pass and will not be called on to speak. In order to get the most benefit from the program, individuals are encouraged to participate to the fullest of their ability.

ADAO also offers a separate Anxiety Management Program for Young Adults aged 17 to 24 years. For more information on the Young Adults program, please contact us at 613-729-6761 or at

What program materials will be provided?

Participants are provided with the following materials:

  • The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, 5th Edition, by Edmund J. Bourne
  • An ADAO Participant Manual
  • An ADAO Participant Workbook
  • Relaxation recordings

The Anxiety Management Program undergoes biennial reviews to keep material current and to reflect feedback from participants and facilitators.

How much does the program cost?

The cost for participating in the AMP is $545 per person, including course materials. A limited number of subsidized spaces are available. The AMP is not covered by OHIP. However, other social benefit systems (e.g., ODSP, OSAP, OW, EAP) or workplace extended health benefits may cover the cost of the program. These arrangements must be made by the participant. It is the responsibility of the participant to enquire whether the program is covered by any program for which he/she is eligible, and to submit any necessary paperwork.

Please note that ADAO does not receive funding from the municipal, provincial or federal governments. The 14-Week Anxiety Management Program fees cover the costs of running our program.