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.

‘I am not good enough to go to art classes’

Unhelpful way

Helpful way


I am hopeless at everything I try and want to hide away

I may not succeed at everything but there are things I am good at


Fear and panic

Calm and confident in yourself

Physical effects

Racing heart, sweaty, fast breathing

No physical symptoms


Avoid going to art class and stay home

Go to the class and have a go – did it!

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 28/08/2013 | Updated on 10/12/2015
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