Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)
CBT is a structured psychological treatment which recognises that the way we think (cognition) and act (behaviour) affects the way we feel. CBT involves working with a professional (therapist) to identify thought and behaviour patterns that are either making you more likely to become anxious, or stopping you from getting better when you’re experiencing anxiety. Once you've recognised any unhelpful patterns that are contributing to your anxiety, you can make changes to replace these with new ones that reduce anxiety and improve your coping skills.
For example, you might find yourself stuck in catastrophising thinking patterns. This means thinking the worst, believing something is far worse than it actually is, or anticipating things will go wrong. CBT helps by teaching you to think that more realistically and focus on problem-solving. If you actively avoid situations or things that cause anxiety, CBT can help you face your fears and approach these situations more rationally.
Professionals may use a range of techniques in CBT. Examples include:
- encouraging you to recognise the difference between productive and unproductive worries
- teaching you how to let go of worries and solve problems.
- teaching 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 (see e-therapies, below). CBT is often combined with behaviour therapy.
NewAccess is a free and confidential service that provides support in the form of a coach. The program includes six free sessions tailored to your individual needs. NewAccess coaching is only available in some areas nationally.