Cognitive Behavior Therapy Isn't The Be-All And End-All Of Treating Anxiety

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is a common, established, well-researched treatment for anxiety. If you struggle with your nerves you may have heard things like:

If you're trying to access mental health care your doctor may mechanically recommend CBT. Your insurance may only cover you for CBT sessions. Free treatment groups offered by the government or subsidized counseling agencies may only be CBT based. It can create the impression CBT is all there is.

If you've already tried CBT and it didn't feel like it worked, you may worry something's wrong with you. You've done this amazing therapy everyone can't stop gushing about and didn't see what the all the fuss was about. You might conclude you're a lost cause, your anxiety is extra-severe, you're just not cut out for counseling, and so on.

The fact is that while many people find CBT helpful, it isn't the be-all and end-all of anxiety treatment. Not everyone responds to it. Some clients give it an honest go, and it helps a bit, but not enough. It rubs other people the wrong way. They might chafe against its structured approach, or feel invalidated by its emphasis on logically disputing "irrational" thinking.

There are other talk therapy models that you may click with more and get better results from. A few examples:

Of course, everyone's different, so I can't say which method will fit each individual, but there's plenty to choose from.

That's the main point I want to make. I want to validate anyone who's feeling iffy about CBT, but wonders if they're the one who's missing something or deluded. I'll clarify where I'm coming from a bit more.

What this article isn't saying

To sum up, I don't hate CBT, but it's okay if it didn't do it for you. It doesn't mean you're untreatable. Take a look at the other options.