The main type of psychological treatment for anxiety is a therapy called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT. Research has shown that CBT is a very effective treatment for managing and reducing anxiety in the long-term.
CBT targets the way people think (the “C” or “cognitive” part of CBT) and act (the “B” or “behavioural” part of CBT). Treatment typically lasts 12 – 20 sessions and focuses on education about the nature and causes of anxiety, changing unhelpful ways of thinking to make thinking more balanced and realistic, and facing feared situations in a gradual, manageable way in order to overcome fears.
Research suggests that CBT offers the most benefits when completed with a trained mental health professional; however, for some people with mild anxiety, self-help manuals may be helpful. CBT is an effective treatment for all anxiety disorders and research shows that it is at least as effective as medication. The gains that are observed with CBT are long lasting and tend to be maintained longer than improvements achieved by medication alone.