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 negative 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 not being a good mother’


Unhelpful way

Helpful way


What if I can't do this – what if I can’t cope?

I may not feel comfortable in my new role yet, but I have coped in the past.


Fear and panic

Calm and confident to have a go

Physical effects

Sick in the stomach, sweaty, panicked

No physical symptoms


Read every book and internet site for what you should be doing. Beat yourself up when other mothers tell you what their child is doing and how they cope.

Read only reputable websites and books, occasionally. Discuss any concerns with people you value and trust. Act with confidence because you believe you get things right most of the time.

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 29/08/2013 | Updated on 01/12/2015
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