Anxiety and CBT Treatment

Anxiety refers to feeling nervous or worried about a possible, unwanted future event or outcome, particularly when a person believes that he or she may not be able to cope with the feared event or outcome.

Whilst feeling anxious is a normal experience and is expected in certain situations, such as when taking a test or attending an interview, anxiety can become a problem when it is excessive, feels uncontrollable or causes distress.

If you’re feeling anxious more days than not or anxiety is interfering with your life, Cognitive- Behavioural Therapy may help you.

 

What is CBT for Anxiety?

CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is an effective therapy that is widely used to treat anxiety. CBT has two components:

  1. Cognitive therapy – helps to firstly identify and then change unhelpful thought patterns that directly trigger or maintain anxiety. Cognitive therapy teaches helpful thought patterns that decrease feelings of anxiety.
  2. Behaviour therapy – helps to identify and change unhelpful behaviours that maintain and or increase anxiety. Behaviour therapy introduces more helpful behaviours or actions that decrease feelings of anxiety.

 

CBT for anxiety also involves:

  • Education about thoughts, feelings, behaviours and anxiety.
  • Goal setting.
  • Practicing strategies learned in therapy, both in and outside of therapy sessions.

 

A CBT for Anxiety Case Study

Lets put CBT for Anxiety into practice with the following example:

Susan experiences anxiety when riding the bus. When riding the bus, Susan often has the thought, “What if I am unable to make it through the passengers to get off at my stop?”. Susan has always managed to get off the bus at her stop in the past. A more helpful thought for Susan to think would be: “I have always managed to get off at my stop before, so it is likely that I will manage to get off at my stop this time”.

Susan might also like to combine her helpful thought with a helpful activity such as diaphragmatic breathing, which is a beneficial exercise in easing unpleasant physical sensations of anxiety such as a racing heart and sweaty palms.

 

With repeated practice of CBT and the guidance of a skilled therapist, it is possible to alleviate anxiety. A skilled therapist will be able to advise if CBT is suitable for you.

If you would like to know more information about visiting a psychologist, you may like to download our free ebook titled “Your 101 Guide to Visiting a Psychologist”. This guide will provide information on how to find a psychologist in your local area and how to find a “good one”, what different government schemes are available to help assist with the cost of therapy, what to expect at your first visit and more.

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