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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for treating anxiety disorders'

We all experience anxiety, however there can become a point where anxiety is causing a negative impact on our daily life. This is when the short-term talking therapy, (typically 8-20 sessions) CBT can be extremely effective. The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE, 2011 management of anxiety disorders) recommends CBT as the first treatment of choice for the treatment of anxiety disorders such as OCD, BDD, GAD, PTSD, Social Anxiety, Health Anxiety and Phobias.

What is CBT?

CBT helps assist you in understanding the source of your anxiety and the measures you can take to address it. CBT is a form of treatment that focuses on identifying and reshaping problematic thinking patterns and behaviours. To put it another way, CBT can assist you in altering your mindset to different circumstances. You challenge thoughts and adapt unhelpful behaviours to help you feel better.

Anxiety, not always unhelpful

Anxiety and uneasiness are based in survival, so this is something that CBT would not try and change, when there is an actual threat, getting prepared to run, stay and fight, or stay still/freeze makes a lot of sense, this helps us to stay alive. However, with problematic anxiety, it is as if our alarm system is over working. Our thinking about a situation or ‘what if’ can cause extreme terror, panic, and worry. Due to this anxiety, we can then start to become a prisoner of our own thoughts, we may start to avoid more in order to feel less anxious. A negative cycle is created. CBT helps you to establish a distance from fears and thoughts and learn new ways to cope and achieve your value driven goals.

As time passes, these habits begin to replicate themselves. You may learn to pay attention to such patterns and actively attempt to modify them, as well as the feelings that go along with them, using CBT. With enough time, it may be possible to prevent these behaviours from occurring again.

A significant amount of research including use of Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTS) show cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) reduces symptoms of anxiety, changes patterns of thinking and successful results are long lasting. Studies comparing seven different types of psychotherapy show CBT to be most effective - Barth J, Munder T, Gerger H, Nüesch E, Trelle S, Znoj H, et al. (2013)

CBT Techniques

Some approaches you will be introduced to in CBT to help manage anxiety and improve mood include

  • Cognitive restructuring or reframing

  • Behavioral activation

  • Thought challenging

  • Exposure Response Prevention

  • Behavioral experiments

  • Relaxation techniques, imagery.

Online video/Skype/Zoom therapy or in person therapy?

At present therapy is commonly offered online through a video call (Zoom, Skype) or in person. Data published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that online CBT is as effective as face to face psychological therapy. Online therapy allows you to have therapy from wherever you like worldwide. Other individuals prefer psychological interventions such as exposure response prevention (ERP) in their own home with a clinician with them to aid confidence.

If you wish to receive effective treatment for anxiety, please use the contact form to schedule an assessment

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