Stress is caused when we are pulled in two different directions.
In one direction are things we MUST do and take care of - like our work, family, mortgage, health and other responsibilities - and the fact that all of these could change on us at any time. The other direction is towards relaxation, or perhaps a life that does not involve so much constant change, responsibility and running around. Stress is the gap between what you want and what you have.
There are a number of factors involved in stress management. Obviously, there is providing relaxation advice and techniques, but there is more to the issue. We have to work at bringing about deep change in individuals to ensure that relaxation technquies are not just "covering up" the psychological attitudes that cause stress. In fact sometimes relaxation techniques cause additional stress if they do not work, or take too much time. As such, therapy looks at attitudes, thoughts and emotions that are likely to cause one to have stress in their lives. By addressing those issues, along with stress management techniques, patients are able to lead a more serene and accepting life.