Ok, you have anxiety. Are you doing what you want?

Another study is making the rounds here at Sound Behavioral Health.

This systematic review by McKnight and company (Clinical Psychology Review, April 2016), attempts to investigate the empirical evidence for the relationship between anxiety symptom measures and functional impairment measures. It looks at levels of social, occupational, and physical functioning in relation to symptom levels.

For a long time, there has been an assumed corollary between reduction of anxiety symptoms and level of functioning — that if we experience less panic, for example, we function better. In truth, as this article points out, it’s not a relationship that has been scientifically tested to a sufficient degree.

So. The study raises the important question that sometimes creates divides in both the research and the clinical worlds: is therapy primarily about symptom reduction, or is it primarily about responding to such symptoms in order to live a valued life?

(Of course, these are not mutually exclusive aims, but you can see how the context of each question establishes very different clinical stances)

In other words, do we emphasize feeling GOOD or about FEELING good?

What did this impressive and exhaustively researched review reveal? In short, the correlations are there, but are identified as “somewhat weak,” and the authors state, “Combined, these studies counter the assumption that symptom severity is strongly positively correlated with impaired functioning and suggest that a more complicated relationship exists.”

Abstract link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Anxiety+Symptoms+and+Functional+Impairment%3A+A+Systematic+Review+of+the+Correlation+between+the+Two+Measures