Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Anxiety


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Anxiety

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Anxiety

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT, is perhaps the most researched of all therapies for anxiety. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for anxiety mainly focuses on what an individual thinks, how these thoughts are affecting him or her emotionally, and how these thoughts affect his or her behaviour (Vernon & Doyle, 2017, p. 1). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has become a popular treatment for people with anxiety disorders and has been highly recommended by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence or NICE and many others.

When a person is anxious, this can cause the person to look at things and evaluate them negatively. The role of a cognitive behavioral therapist is to let the person see the connection between his or her negative thoughts and mood. Through cognitive behavioral therapy, a person will be able to take positive control over his or her own negative emotions and change his or her behavior.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Anxiety


Those who are experiencing panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and social anxiety disorder (to name a few) may benefit greatly from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. As the name suggests, CBT has two major components. The first major component of CBT is cognitive therapy that involves examining negative thoughts and how they contribute to one’s anxiety.

The second major component is behaviour therapy that looks at an individual’s behaviour and how s/he reacts to what s/he considers anxiety-provoking situations. CBT functions with the fundamental belief that it is our thoughts and not external events which influence our feelings. It also means that it is not necessarily the situation that determines our feelings but it is how we perceive the situation, or what we initially make of it, that contributes to our feelings of anxiety (Ashby Allen Institute, 2005).

Undergoing Cognitive Behavioral Theory for Anxiety

One of the great advantages of CBT is that it can be used for treating people who have anxiety disorders (and other disorders) of varying severity. In other words, CBT can be very helpful not only for people who are battling severely with anxiety, but it can also be effective for people who have just started to experience some symptoms of anxiety.

CBT needs to be conducted by a trained therapist and is often conducted in a clinical setting, although there are also some basic self-help resources available online. CBT focuses on the “here and now”. CBT does not aim towards delving deeper into causes of one’s anxiety, so it does not focus on the past, although it is not dismissed completely.

During CBT sessions, a person will be asked to identify his/her problems together with the thoughts, feelings and behaviour that are linked with that problem. Once the problem has been identified, the trained CBT therapist will then work with the person in examining his/her own patterns of thinking and behaviour. Careful examination of one’s thoughts and behavioural patterns will help make it easier for the person to make some positive changes and be able to better manage his/her anxiety.

Each CBT session tends to last for around 50 minutes. Persons undergoing CBT are often given homework that ought to be carried out and completed between the sessions. This homework often includes regular monitoring of one’s own thoughts and behaviour by writing them down in a diary or journal, or in a chart.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for anxiety is known to not only be effective, but it is also known to be the fastest way to elicit positive results. Many persons who have gone through CBT have experienced great improvement in their anxiety symptoms after only 16 sessions. This is often seen as a great advantage that CBT has over any other therapies which may take years before the person can reap the benefits of their treatment process.


Ashby Allan Institute, 2005.

Vernon, A., & Doyle, K. A. (Eds.). (2017). Cognitive behavior therapies–basics and beyond : a guidebook for counselors. Retrieved from

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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Anxiety

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