Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is helpful in the treatment of anxiety disorders. It is based on the idea that how you think affects how you feel and what you do. The “cognitive” aspect of the therapy is your thoughts and the “behavioural” is your actions that flow from the thoughts and feelings you are having.

CBT is aimed at helping you to face your fears and negative thoughts rather than running away from them, which can make the anxiety worse. This is a simple example of how different thoughts lead to different feelings and actions.

‘Fear of getting sicker’

Unhelpful way

Helpful way


What if I get worse and can’t cope?


I may not like my situation, but I have coped in the past.


Fear and panic

Calm and assertive

Physical effects

Sick in the stomach, sweaty

No physical symptoms


Read every website, check every bodily change, ring doctor every time concerned.

Read only reputable websites and make a list of questions to ask the doctor at the next visit.

The key steps of this therapy are to:

  1. Understand and become aware of the negative thoughts you may have.
  2. Ask yourself: how realistic are these thoughts?
  3. Understand and become aware of the way your thoughts impact on your behaviours/actions: what am I doing because I am thinking like this?
  4. Challenge the negative thoughts and replace them with more helpful, positive thoughts: what can I say to myself when I start thinking this way?
  5. Change negative behaviours: what would be an action I could take to face this issue rather than hiding from it?
Created on 30/08/2013 | Updated on 10/12/2015
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