Frequently Asked Questions about
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)


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Is CBT more effective than other forms of therapy?

CBT is the ONLY form of therapy that is widely proven to be effective for panic disorder, agoraphobia and other forms of anxiety disorder.  There are dozens of studies that prove the dramatic effectiveness of CBT.  There is an absence of studies showing the effectiveness of other forms of therapy.


How is CBT different from other kinds of therapy?

CBT is not at all like traditional psychotherapy.  In traditional psychotherapy, the focus is often on talking about one's past.  

Talking about the past can be very helpful in dealing with many life issues, but it has very limited value in helping people to overcome panic disorder.  CBT focuses on overcoming panic in the present, as opposed to searching the past for contributing factors.

In CBT, you learn skills that you practice in the therapist's office and on your own.  CBT is like taking a class: you learn skills that empower you to overcome the anxiety and panic. 


How long does CBT take?

Many people see dramatic progress in only a few weeks' time.


What if I’m skeptical about CBT?

It's not necessary to believe in this approach for it to work.  As you see the results for yourself, you begin to believe in it!


Will I be able to discontinue my medication?

Most people starting CBT have been taking medication.  Many people experience undesirable side effects from medication.  If you wish, as you progress in your recovery, you can wean yourself off medication, with your doctor’s supervision.

Many people find they get excellent results with a combination of CBT and medication.  Many others prefer CBT alone – they find that it is more effective than medication and has no side effects.  In addition, learning CBT gives one a real sense of mastery and accomplishment.


Will my insurance cover the expense?

Many insurance plans cover CBT for panic disorder.  In many states, "mental health parity" laws require insurance companies to provide meaningful coverage for panic disorder.


How does the cost of CBT compare with the cost of medication?

In the long run, CBT is often less expensive than medication.  CBT teaches you skills that you practice on your own, whereas medication is often an ongoing expense.


How can I find a CBT therapist?

See this section on our website:
Finding a Therapist: A Step-by-Step Guide


Do you recommend books on CBT?

We highly recommend "Panic Attacks Workbook" by Dr. David Carbonell.  This book is available on for about $12.

We also highly recommend “Mastery of Your Anxiety and Panic: Workbook,”  by Barlow and Craske.

This Workbook is designed to be used with a CBT therapist, but it can also be used for self-help.  It was developed by Dr. David Barlow and Dr. Michelle Craske – two of the world's leading experts in the field – and is used by many therapists around the world.

You can order the Workbook from the publisher, Oxford University Press, through their website: or by calling 1-800-445-9714. 

If you order from, be sure that you get the Workbook (not the Therapist Guide) and that you get the latest edition, published in 2006.

In “Mastery of Your Anxiety and Panic: Workbook", you learn techniques for actually resolving the panic, piece by piece, instead of just trying to manage it through relaxation, positive self-talk or other self-help techniques.

See this short essay about this approach: Slowing Down and Unmasking the Panic Monster: The MAP Program

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