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Group Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Anxiety And Depression

Overview And Clinical Presentation

Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy for Depression

Epidemiological studies suggest that anxiety disorders are the most frequently diagnosed class of disorders in children and adolescents and that most people who develop an anxiety disorder do so by late adolescence or early adulthood . While some fears and anxiety can be adaptive and developmentally appropriate , clinical levels of fear and anxiety can engender significant distress in children and their families and are likely to interfere with academic and social functioning . Moreover, the high prevalence of anxiety disorders coupled with the negative effects on functioning results in a significant economic burden on society .

Cognitive Behavioral Techniques And Exercise For Depression And Anxiety

Graded Exposure: is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy exercise designed to alleviate anxiety and depression through repeated exposure with what is feared. This has been to shown to be among the most effective treatments for any psychological problem. The underlying principle has to do with avoidance of things or stimulus that we dread resulting in increased fear and anxiety. By systematically approaching what you might normally avoid, a significant and lasting reduction in anxiety takes place.

Activity Scheduling: Activity scheduling is another form of cognitive behavioral therapy exercise that helps people participate in behaviors they ordinarily would not engage in. This exercise involves identifying a low-frequency behavior and finding time throughout the week to schedule the behavior to increase its frequency. It is often employed in treatment for depression, as a way of re-introducing rewarding behaviors into peoples daily routines

Imagery Based Exposure: This exercise involves focusing or thinking about a recent event or memory that produced unpleasant or strong negative emotions and analyzing the situation.

Having a mental picture of this negative emotion, especially for a long period of time, can enable you to have control over the stimulus and reduce avoidance coping.

Advantages Of Having Co

There are advantages to having more than one therapist in group CBT sessions. A second therapist has the flexibility to leave the room with a distressed patient or to note changes in a patient’s mental state that may not be apparent to a therapist working alone. This monitoring can be more easily carried out when the group is smaller.

Although it is harder to tailor the content of group therapy sessions to meet the needs of individual members’ formulations it is not impossible, particularly in smaller groups. However, group therapy may not be able to follow an individual’s formulation completely as would be the case in individualised therapy .

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What Services Are Available Through Osp

Individuals aged 18+ with depression and anxiety-related conditions will have access to different services in the OSP program. The service or services recommended will depend on whats most appropriate for their needs, with most clients starting with self-administered strategies.

  • Guided self-help resources: The BounceBack program is available by telephone
  • Psychotherapy: Individual and/or group CBT sessions are delivered in person or online

Treatment For People With Depression Anxiety And Anxiety

CBT umbrella and other therapies that fall under

In Ontario, adults with depression and anxiety-related conditions can access publicly-funded, evidence-based, cognitive-behavioural therapy and related approaches to help manage their conditions. CBT is a structured, time-limited therapy that is problem-focused and goal-oriented and teaches practical strategies and skills.

CBT and related approaches can be accessed through the Ontario Structured Psychotherapy Program for the following conditions:

  • depression and low mood

  • other anxiety and stress-related problems

  • posttraumatic stress

  • social anxiety and performance fears

  • specific fears

  • unexpected panic attacks and agoraphobic fears

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Cbt Group Therapy For Anxiety And Depression

CBT Group Therapy

Living with anxiety or depression is like having someone suck our energy, preventing us from being the best version of the person that we can be.

As a treatment for anxiety and depression, CBT group therapy successfully supports a person in learning how to challenge negative automatic thoughts change unhelpful thinking patterns develop new ways of thinking and prepare action plans to resolve daily difficulties.

Cognitive behavioural therapy teaches us a new way of learning, instructing us on how to see situations and things differently. The main concept behind CBT is, if we can change the thoughts we have about a situation, it will affect how we feel and we behave accordingly.

For example, lets imagine a student with a group presentation they have to give to their classmates. Some students may be excited to get up in front of everyone and deliver their lines, and theyll have fun with it. Comparatively, youll see others really nervous about getting in front of their class, possibly forgetting a line, or stumbling over a sentence. This is an example of the same situation affecting two people differently.

This Group Therapy Is For You If You Currently:

  • Feel depressed, including symptoms such as low humour, a feeling of void or despair, low motivation or lack of interest, excessive negative thinking.
  • You have difficulties with excessive anxiety, acute stress or anxiety, panic attacks, social anxiety, phobias or health-related anxiety .
  • You have somatic symptoms such as: muscular tension, feeling restless, over excited or nervous, having trouble relaxing or sleeping.
  • You feel irritable, excessively tired, you have difficulty concentrating, you notice changes in your sleep and/or eating habits or appetite.

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How To Access The Program

Psychiatrists, primary care providers , or other health care professionals, can refer clients. Alternatively, clients may self-refer. In your area, referrals are coordinated by the Royal, and services are delivered in a wide range of community settings. This includes primary care, community mental health agencies, family services organizations, community health centres, and the Canadian Mental Health Association for the BounceBack program.

If you are a client, you will need to complete a referral form on This will give you access to coordinated mental health and addictions services in eastern Ontario, including the OSP program. On, you will be able to book yourself into a screening appointment, at which time you will be contacted by an AccessMHA staff member to get you started.

If you are a psychiatrist or primary care provider , you will first need to complete the AccessMHA referral form through the Ocean portal on your Electronic Medical Record or visit here. AccessMHA is the single point of entry for access to mental health and addictions services in eastern Ontario, including the OSP program. Clients will then be contacted by an AccessMHA staff member to get started.

If you have any questions about the referral form, please contact The Royal at +1 527-8207.

Positive Reinforcement And Vicarious Learning In A Safe Environment

What Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and How Is It Used to Treat Anxiety and Depression?

Observation of others undertaking a task during a session can make it more likely that other group members will attempt it . They learn from others that carrying out a task or changing a viewpoint can have positive outcomes . Furthermore, the general support and encouragement of the other group members, which is a product of group cohesion , further encourage participants to engage in tasks that they may otherwise have avoided. Positive outcomes are likely to be reinforced by praise from the therapist and other group members after completing tasks both during sessions and between sessions as homework .

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Efficacy/effectiveness Of Cognitive Therapy For Anxiety Disorders

The use of cognitive techniques in treating anxiety disorders is widely implemented. Yet the research on the efficacy and effectiveness of cognitive techniques alone for anxiety disorders has shown variable results. For example, a study comparing transdiagnostic CBT therapy with relaxation training in anxiety disorder patients found both treatments to be equally beneficial, although relaxation training was associated with a higher dropout rate. The results regarding the efficacy and effectiveness of cognitive therapy for anxiety disorders are also limited by the small number of studies examining cognitive methods in isolation from exposure. Many of the treatment protocols investigated in treatment outeome studies combine both exposure and cognitive therapy techniques, making conclusions about the relative contributions of each method difficult to disentangle.

What Is The Evidence That Cbt Works

Cognitive-behavioural therapy has been extensively researched in a wide range of psychiatric disorders. In a broad summary of the literature , CBT alone was found to be an effective treatment for depression, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social phobia, post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder along with other disorders. CBT can also improve outcomes when delivered in conjunction with medication, especially when depression is more severe, and has been shown to reduce relapse and recurrence of depression .

Butler et al. “The empirical analysis of cognitive-behavioural therapy: A review of meta-analyses.” Clinical Psychology Review 2006 26:1731.

Segal et al. “Efficacy of combined, sequential and crossover psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy in improving outcomes in depression.” J Psychiatry Neurosci 2002 27:281-90.

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The Benefits Of Mindshift Cbt Groups

Affordable & Accessible

Allows Canadians with mild and moderate anxiety to access therapy at an affordable cost from the convenience of their own home. No doctors referral required. You will find our fee structure in the FAQ section below.


Research shows that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is one of the most effective treatments for anxiety. We use evidence-based CBT tools to help group members take charge of their anxiety.


Sessions are facilitated by a registered clinical counsellor experienced in CBT, who will provide structure and guide the group.


Small groups of up to 12 people provide a comfortable and confidential environment to connect with others navigating anxiety. Members are asked to not share any identifying information outside the group.


Group therapy can help people with anxiety know that theyre not alone in their struggle. Hearing others experiences and sharing your own in a safe environment helps to normalize anxiety and inspire connection.

Does Cbt Work For Depression

CBT Counselling Online and CBT Counselling in Kelowna, British Columbia

It has been difficult to research the effectiveness of psychotherapy since the term can refer to so many different activities. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, however, lends itself well to research and has been scientifically proven to be effective in treating symptoms of depression and anxiety.

It tends to be short- to moderate-term, in contrast to some other orientations because of its focus on the present, as well as on problem-solving. Its mission to educate the patient to learn to become their own therapist also makes it a long-term treatment.

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Privacy And Protection Of Personal Information

We respect your privacy and understand that applying to participate and actually participating in any kind of therapy is a personal and sensitive matter. We collect, use, disclose, protect and dispose of personal information in accordance with the MindShift CBT Privacy Policy, which we strongly encourage you to read, and with applicable law including the British Columbia Personal Information Protection Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

Removing A Patient From The Group

In all groups some people will progress better than others. Occasionally, for reasons such as a deteriorating clinical state or disruptiveness, it will be necessary to remove a group member from the group. They may transfer to one-to-one treatment or, in extreme cases, exit treatment altogether. Some therapists ask group members at the beginning of therapy to sign a therapy contract which includes provisions for ending treatment. Even if that level of formality is not used, all group CBT should begin with a discussion and agreement of group rules which the therapists and group members verbally agree to abide by. These will include items such as not interrupting another group member, respecting others and punctuality.

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How Long Does It Take For Cognitive Behavioral Therapy To Work

What makes cognitive-behavioral therapy unique and different is while other treatment approaches spend a great amount of time digging deep and probing why you feel depressed, anxious, or have low self-esteem, CBT sticks to the current thoughts and behaviors

There are certain factors which determine the number of sessions needed to achieve a successful result when using cognitive-behavioral therapy for treating anxiety, depression. At the same time, because each individual is unique, these generalizations are not applicable to everyone. Someone with severe anxiety may become aware they feel better quicker than expected and someone with mild anxiety may find they need more support, due to other external factors such as level of self-confidence, the degree of change they wish to achieve, and present life situation.

For mild anxiety and depression, three to twelve sessions may be sufficient. 6 or 12-24 sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy may be enough to successfully treat a presentation of moderate forms of anxiety while severe forms of depression and anxiety take a minimum of 24 sessions of cognitive-behavioral therapy for the best outcome

After each session, you are encouraged to apply the principles you have learned to your daily life and determine if you are comfortable with the progress you are making.

Other Types Of Cognitive

CBT for Depression: The Basics

One type of CBT is rational emotive behavior therapy , which was developed by Albert Ellis. Ellis considers strong emotions to result from an interaction between events in the environment and our beliefs and expectations. Some of these beliefs can be too strong or rigid.

For example, maintaining a belief that everyone should like you. With REBT, you would learn to change that belief so that it is less extreme and less likely to interfere with your life. Your belief could then change to wanting people to like you but realizing that not everyone will.

Another form of CBT is dialectical behavior therapy , which was developed by Marsha Linehan primarily to be used for patients with borderline personality disorder . DBT emphasizes working on accepting thoughts and feelings instead of trying to fight them. The goal is to get patients to accept their thoughts and feelings so that they can eventually change them.

Exposure and response prevention therapy is yet another type of CBT that is usually used for obsessive-compulsive disorder . In this therapy, patients are exposed to the situations or objects that cause them the most fear but are not able to engage in the behaviors that help relieve the anxiety they feel .

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Cbt Is A Great Option If You’re Struggling With Depression Or Anxiety

There are many different approaches to psychotherapy. Some therapists identify with a particular approach or orientation while others draw from a variety of different approaches. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one specific orientation of psychotherapy that seeks to help people change how they think.

Journaling And Thought Records

Writing is a time-honored way of getting in touch with your own thoughts.

Your therapist may ask you to list negative thoughts that occurred to you between sessions, as well as positive thoughts you can choose instead.

Another writing exercise is to keep track of the new thoughts and new behaviors you put into practice since the last session. Putting it in writing can help you see how far youve come.

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Variable Description And Missing Data

The PI analyses included 291 randomized patients . The means and frequencies of the clinical characteristics of the patients are listed in Table 1. Online Appendix B lists demographic and background information. The median number of completed sessions in both groups was 10. Four or more group sessions were completed by 228 patients , who were included in the PAI analyses.

There were no significant differences between the two treatment groups regarding demographic or clinical characteristics except that the UP group had higher levels of anxiety symptoms on HAM-A.

A total of 14.5% of the observations were missing. We tested the imputation method by artificially producing the missing data on the data of the 81 patients with no missing pre-treatment data or missing outcome data before Session 5. With a 0.33 error term for the continuous variables , and a 0.41 error term for the discrete variables , the imputation method appeared satisfactory.

The Use Of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy According To Severity Of Depression

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)? And How Can CBT Help with ...

Various trials have shown the benefit of combined treatment for severe depression.

Combined therapy though costlier than monotherapy it provides cost-effectiveness in the form of relapse prevention.

Number of sessions depends on patient responsiveness.

Booster sessions might be required at the intervals of the 112th month as per the clinical need.

A model for reference is given in

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Skills Training And Behavioral Rehearsal

There is some debate about whether children with anxiety disorders evidence true skills deficits or whether they possess these skills but are unable to effectively use them because of the interference engendered by their anxiety. However, because the research is equivocal, many CBT treatments for child anxiety include a skills training component. In early phases, this training may be very didactic and psychoeducational but learning is often reinforced with modeling by the therapist and behavioral rehearsal. Behavioral rehearsal is coupled with reinforcement by the therapist, oftentimes social reinforcement in the form of praise and positive feedback that is gradually phased out in favor of self-reinforcement.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Skills Group

In response to COVID-19 the South Vancouver Island and Vancouver programs are now offering on-line CBT Skills Groups. for more details.

The Vancouver CBT Skills Group program has been running since September 2017 and is based on the Victoria CBT Skills Group Initiative. Since its inception, over 1100 people have taken the program, with patient referrals coming in from over 400 family physicians. Each group is facilitated by a one of our 7 physician facilitators.

“I am finding this group very helpful. It’s the only thing after 2 years of being off work that is actually helping me recognize what’s happening and making changes in the right direction” Vancouver Program Participant

The Vancouver CBT Skills Groups offer an 8-week psycho-education program that targets patients 18 years and older with low to moderate severity of anxiety and depression, as well as other lower acuity mental health diagnoses. Each session is 90 minutes long. Because the majority of the program is MSP funded, participating in the program requires a referral from a family physician. for a fuller list of FAQs.For questions about the program and patient referrals, please review the information below. If you have further questions, please contact us at

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