Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) for anxiety
What is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy?
CBT is a structured psychological treatment which recognises that the way we think (cognition) and act (behaviour) affects the way we feel.
How does CBT work?
Unhelpful thoughts and behaviours can make you more anxious. They can stop you from getting better when you’re experiencing anxiety. A therapist will work with you to identify unhelpful thought and behaviour patterns, and help you replace unhelpful thoughts and behaviours with new ones that reduce your anxiety.
Example: Managing catastrophising thought patterns
You might find yourself stuck in catastrophising thinking patterns. Maybe you:
- think the worst
- believe something is far worse than it actually is
- expect things to go wrong.
CBT helps by teaching you to have a more balanced attitude and focus on problem-solving.
Example: Reducing avoidance of anxiety triggers
You might avoid situations or things that cause anxiety. CBT can help you face your fears and approach these situations more rationally.
Mental health professionals may use a range of CBT techniques. They might:
- encourage you to recognise the difference between productive and unproductive worries
- teach you how to let go of worries and solve problems
- teach you relaxation and breathing techniques, particularly muscle relaxation, to control anxiety and the physical symptoms of tension.
CBT can be delivered one-on-one with a professional, in groups, or online. CBT is often combined with behaviour therapy.