Managing anxiety with cognitive behaviour therapy: What is it and how can it help?

Anxiety is a universal emotion that we all experience but, for 1 in 4 people, anxiety can be significantly debilitating.  Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based psychological treatment that is a first-line treatment for individuals with anxiety disorders.  In this webinar recording, Dr. Randi McCabe discusses CBT and how it is used to target anxiety symptoms, as well as available resources, including self-help and therapist-assisted treatment. Learn about the nature of anxiety and its disorders and how to determine when the experience of anxiety warrants intervention.  


Learn the answers to the following questions:

  • 00:00 What is anxiety?
  • 20:23 How is anxiety treated?
  • 24:23 What is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)?
  • 38:28 How do you get CBT?

Download this list of helpful resources related to anxiety and CBT. 

Want to test your knowledge? After watching this video take this quick 4-question quiz.

Give us your feedback with this 2-question survey.

Browse all video posts.

Get the latest content first. Sign up for free weekly email alerts.
Author Details
Author Details


  1. Kessler RC, Amminger GP, Aguilar-Gaxiola S,et al. Age of onset of mental disorders: a review of recent literature. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2007; Jul;20(4):359-64. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e32816ebc8c.
  2. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Covid-19 National Survey Dashboard. Accessed October 1, 2022. Available from: 
  3. Baxter, A. J., Scott, K. M., Vos, et al. Global prevalence of anxiety disorders: a systematic review and meta-regression. Psychol Med. 2013 May; 43(5), 897-910.
  4. Bandelow, B, Reitt M, Röver C ,et al. "Efficacy of treatments for anxiety disorders: a meta-analysis." Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2015; Jul;30(4):183-92. doi: 10.1097/YIC.0000000000000078
  5. Katzman, M.A., Bleau, P., Blier, P. et al. Canadian clinical practice guidelines for the management of anxiety, posttraumatic stress and obsessive-compulsive disorders. BMC Psychiatry. 2014; 14 (Suppl 1), S1 (2014).
  6. Gum, A. M., King-Kallimanis, B., & Kohn, R. Prevalence of mood, anxiety, and substance-abuse disorders for older Americans in the national comorbidity survey-replication. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2009; Sep;17(9):769-81. doi: 10.1097/JGP.0b013e3181ad4f5a 
  7. Bryant, C., Jackson, H., & Ames, D. The prevalence of anxiety in older adults: methodological issues and a review of the literature. J Affect Disord. 2008; Aug;109(3):233-50. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2007.11.008. Epub 2007 Dec 26.
  8. Wetherell, J. L., Lenze, E. J., & Stanley, M. A. (2005). Evidence-based treatment of geriatric anxiety disorders. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2005; Dec;28(4):871-96, ix. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2005.09.006. PMID: 16325733.
  9. Wolitzky‐Taylor, K. B., Castriotta, N., Lenze, et al. Anxiety disorders in older adults: a comprehensive review. Depress Anxiety. 2010; 27(2), 190-211. 
  10. Healthy Quality Ontario. Anxiety Disorders: Suggestions on what to discuss with your health care providers to help you receive high-quality care. Toronto (ON): Queen’s Printer for Ontario; 2020. Available from:
  11. Curtiss, J. E., Levine, D. S., Ander, I., et al. Cognitive-Behavioral Treatments for Anxiety and Stress-Related Disorders. Focus. 2021 Jun; 19(2), 184-189. doi: 10.1176/appi.focus.20200045
  12. Olatunji, B. O., Cisler, J. M., & Deacon, B. J. Efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders: a review of meta-analytic findings. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2010 Sep;33(3):557-77. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2010.04.002
  13. Kaczkurkin, A. N., & Foa, E. B. (2022). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders: an update on the empirical evidence. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2015 Sep;17(3):337-46. doi: 10.31887/DCNS.2015.17.3/akaczkurkin
  14. Hall, J., Kellett, S., Berrios, R., et al. Efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy for generalized anxiety disorder in older adults: systematic review, meta-analysis, and meta-regression. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2016 Nov;24(11):1063-1073. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2016.06.006
  15. Palazzolo J. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Depression and Anxiety in the Elderly. Ann Depress. Anxiety2015; 2(6): 1063
  16. Ontario Structured Psychotherapy Program. Updated September 27, 2022. Accessed October 1, 2022.

DISCLAIMER: These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (

Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of new and old blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with changing public health recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website.