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3 CBT Techniques for Teen Anxiety

male teenager talking to therapist about 3 cbt techniques for teen anxiety

Anxiety is the worst–that feeling of your heart racing, thoughts going all over the place, feeling like you will jump right out of your skin, but at the same time feeling like you can’t get anything done. Everyone experiences anxiety at times, but anxiety can become a life-altering problem for some young people. What can you do to alleviate symptoms of anxiety? For some, a counselor, prescription medication, or both can be beneficial. Counselors or psychiatrists often recommend cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety since it can directly target those pesky anxious thought patterns and help reframe them as healthier ways of thinking. But what is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and how can CBT therapy for anxiety help you feel better?

What Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps patients identify negative, unhelpful, and inaccurate thought patterns so that they can replace them with healthier thought patterns. CBT is helpful for people of all ages, so this type of therapy is definitely appropriate for teenagers. In fact, building skills with CBT at a young age can help position a teen to be a healthy and well-adjusted adult.

Three CBT Techniques for Teen Anxiety

  1. Write down how you are feeling, what you are worried about, and what you fear may happen. Look at the words you are using and note terms like ‘never’ and ‘always.’ In CBT, these are called ‘polarized thinking distortions’ and represent a way of thinking that doesn’t allow for nuances. Try to rewrite your feelings without using ‘never’ or ‘always’ and see if they still seem as upsetting as they did before.
  2. Make a list of the negative aspects of the issue you are facing. Easy, right? Now make a list of positive aspects related to the issue you are facing. It might be a little harder, but it can help you avoid something called ‘filtering,’ which is a thought pattern that focuses only on the negative and leaves no room for the positive.
  3. Ask yourself what aspects of the issue you are able to control. Sometimes, you may come to believe that you have no control over a problem or situation or are responsible for situations where you actually have no control. Again, this has to do with leaving some room for shades of gray in your thinking. There are always aspects of any situation that we can and cannot control.

Using these exercises can help you gain a better perspective about whatever is causing anxiety and also help you to examine the situation more clearly. It can be hard to get control of thoughts and feelings, especially when anxiety is running high, but with some practice and use of CBT techniques, it will get easier over time.

CBT and Anxiety Treatment for Teens: Will It Help?

Anxiety is a mental health disorder and requires specialized treatment, support, and management to improve like any other condition or illness. The good news is, anxiety can be managed, and people who live with it can learn how to mitigate their symptoms more effectively. CBT therapy is not the only therapeutic approach for managing anxiety, but it is proven, effective, and backed by evidence-based studies.

Imagine by Northpoint Offers CBT Therapy for Teens Living With Anxiety Near Boise, Idaho

Our state-of-the-art treatment center offers programs for young people ages 12-17 who are struggling with mental health or behavioral health issues. We are committed to helping our patients and their families work together to achieve a better life and a healthy future. Reach out to our caring and knowledgeable staff at 888.597.2807 and let us tell you how we can help.