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In Conversation Series #5

CBT is an evidence-based psychological treatment that teaches people a series of skills for managing anxiety and taking care of their mental health. CBT is based on the simple concept that we react to situations based on how we interpret them. Our thoughts in response to an event lead us to feel and act in certain ways. CBT treatment helps people alter their unhelpful thoughts and change their behaviours to lessen their anxious feelings. CBT teaches people to be sceptical of their thoughts when they are extremely anxious. Are they exaggerating threats? What evidence is there to support a particular interpretation of a situation? What assumptions are they making and are those fair and realistic? In addition to engaging in realistic thinking, CBT encourages people to take gradual risks to face their fears. Each small exposure increases confidence and helps people master situations that make them anxious. CBT also helps people develop coping plans for facing difficult situations. CBT skills are acquired gradually, and require maintenance and upkeep through practice.