Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Anxiety Disorders

In contrast to the high prevalence, degree of disability, and cost to the community, depression and anxiety, once correctly diagnosed, can be treated. Over the past decade, effective treatments have been developed for many anxiety disorders and depressive disorders. The most effective treatments are cognitive behavioral therapy (2,3,4,5,6). These treatments for anxiety disorders are time-limited, self-directed, produce high rates of end state functioning, and are cost-effective.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a series of strategies specifically targeted to an individual's disorder. These can include cognitive therapy, relaxation, breathing techniques for anxiety and exposure therapy.

We are what we think. And the way we think when we have an anxiety disorder only perpetuates the disorder. Cognitive therapy assists us in seeing the damage our negative thoughts cause and it enables us to have a choice in how and what we think. We all 'What if....'. What if this is causing much of the problem. It is! Recovery is a matter of altering our perception of what is happening to us and/or what will people think of us and changing our thought patterns to our new perception.

Working with a CBT therapist can be extremely empowering as we learn to take control over our negative thinking traps, instead of our thought patterns controlling us. Armed with our cognitive skills, we can then go back to situations and/or places we have avoided and practice our cognitive skills. Remember though, it will take practice and more practice! We are learning new skills and we need to allow time for these skills to develop.

If you feel you are not making any progress with CBT, don't simply give up. Speak to your therapist and work through any problems you are encountering. CBT does mean we need to do the work involved. It is up to us to learn and see how our thoughts are creating so many of our difficulties. CBT will not work if we don't do the work needed.

APA Reference
Gluck, S. (2008, October 2). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Anxiety Disorders, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Last Updated: June 15, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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