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Anxiety & depression

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for anxiety & depression

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is the most well researched and widely practiced evidence-based psychological treatment for managing mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, adjustment difficulties, and interpersonal problems. CBT is based on the concept that an individual's thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are interconnected, and that by changing negative and unhelpful thoughts, beliefs and attitudes, we can create changes in feelings and behaviours. The therapy aims to resolve psychological problems quickly, is goal-oriented and is focussed on helping the client to develop a toolkit to ultimately manage their difficulties independently.


For anxiety disorders, CBT helps individuals learn how to identify and challenge the often irrational beliefs and thoughts that cause and perpetuate anxiety. Techniques such as exposure therapy are used to gradually reduce the fear associated with specific triggers. Behavioural experiments help the person to challenge their beliefs in practice. Cognitive therapy or restructuring helps the person to change unrealistic beliefs. These beliefs may relate to specific concerns such as phobias or deeply held beliefs about the self and the world. Research has consistently demonstrated that CBT can effectively reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders such as generalised anxiety disorder, PTSD, specific phobias, health anxiety, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.


In the treatment of depression, CBT works by teaching individuals to recognise and reframe negative thinking patterns and beliefs. Clients learn coping strategies to address these distorted thoughts and are encouraged to engage in activities that are pleasurable provide a sense of achievement, and which are in line with the person’s values, helping to break the cycle of depression.


CBT is also effective in addressing adjustment difficulties — emotional and behavioural responses to new or changing situations that are excessively challenging or overwhelming for the individual. Such situations may include a relationship breakup, grief and loss, unemployment, or legal and financial difficulties. It helps individuals develop skills to adapt more effectively to these changes, enhancing their resilience and ability to manage stress.


There are a range of other evidence based psychological therapies which have been found to be effective for anxiety and depression and which Gus uses in his practice. Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is an evidence-based treatment that focuses on improving interpersonal relationships. IPT is often used to treat depression and involves identifying and addressing interpersonal issues which may contribute to or exacerbate the depressive symptoms. Common focal areas include difficulty forming healthy relationships, unresolved grief, role transitions, and relationship conflicts.


Another psychological therapy with a strong evidence base is mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), which combines cognitive therapy with mindfulness techniques. MBCT is particularly effective in preventing relapse in people who have experienced multiple episodes of depression. Additionally, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) helps increase psychological flexibility through mindfulness and acceptance strategies combined with commitment and behaviour change strategies.


These therapies offer structured, supportive interventions that are tailored to meet the unique needs of individuals, helping them to understand and modify their thought patterns and behaviours, alleviate symptoms, and improve overall mental health.

Do you need help with anxiety & depression?

Contact Dr Gus Norris via the form below, and we will be in touch to assist you in making an appointment. 

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