CBT for Anxiety Disorders
I key component to based CBT treatments for anxiety is some form of “exposure tasks” in which feared situations are confronted, often in a gradual progression, to reduce a sufferers level of anxiety in that feared situation. This may involve facing internal sensations, such as in panic disorder, images or thoughts as in OCD and PTSD, or real life situations, as in phobias.
More cognitive versions of CBT tend to regard these tasks as “behavioural experiments” rather than exposure tasks. Confronting feared situations is seen as just one method of challenging beliefs such as the belief that a particular situation is unsafe.
Most CBT approaches to the treatment of anxiety disorders also entail verbal cognitive therapy. In other words, negative beliefs are addressed through a series of thought challenging techniques.
However, while there are similarities across disorders, specific CBT techniques have been developed for each of the anxiety disorders. Treatment of any given disorder usually involves a series of techniques which have been shown to be effective for that specific disorder.