Anxiety treatments explained: What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

There are many different ways to treat anxiety. In this series we explore some of the treatments that we offer at the Sydney Anxiety Clinic to treat anxiety and related challenges.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a structured psychological treatment which recognises that the way we think (cognition) and act (behaviour) affects the way we feel. This treatment involves working with your psychologist to identify thought and behaviour patterns that are either making you more likely to become anxious, or stopping you from getting better when you’re experiencing anxiety. Once you recognise the unhelpful patterns and often negative patterns that are contributing to your anxiety, you can make changes to replace these with new ones that reduce anxiety and improve your coping skills.

Have you ever noticed that certain thoughts can make you feel down, which might affect what you feel like doing? For example, if you make a mistake in a presentation at work, you may think, ‘I’ll never get a promotion’ or ‘I’ll lose my job’. Understandably, this could make you feel pretty upset and feelings of being worthless. These feelings could stop you from wanting to see your friends or avoiding certain meetings at work. It may make you feel like you don’t want to go to work at all. CBT would help you to become more aware of the negative thoughts, question how true and helpful they are, and develop skills to challenge those thoughts and change your behaviour.

CBT involves learning practical self-help strategies for approaching challenges and problems in a more positive way. It helps by teaching you to think more realistically and focus on the solution rather than the problem. Many people with anxiety will actively avoid situations or things that cause  anxiety and this can really disrupt your life. CBT can help you face your fears and approach these situations more rationally.

We use a range of techniques in CBT. Some examples of this include:

  • Recognising the difference between productive and unproductive worries
  • Teaching you how to let go of your stress and worries and to solve problems

  • Teaching relaxation and breathing techniques, particularly muscle relaxation, to control anxiety and the physical symptoms of tension

CBT is often combined with behaviour therapy and it is scientifically proven therapy that we see working time and time again. We have a number of psychologists in our practice who use CBT as one form of treatment. If anxiety is inhibiting your life, please reach out to us today for help on (02)93897778. There are many treatments available for anxiety - this is just one of them.