Cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety in cognitively intact older adults

Viviana M. Wuthrich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article discusses potential adaptations to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) needed when working with older adults. Although CBT has been demonstrated to be efficacious in older anxious populations in meta-analyses, more research is needed to better understand the efficacy of CBT for the individual anxiety disorders, for older adults aged 80 years and older, and the efficacy of individual CBT elements. Despite normal age-related reductions in cognitive and physical abilities, most research suggests that only minor adaptations to CBT, if any, are needed for older adults. More significant adaptations relate to therapist attitudes and beliefs rather than the pragmatic CBT delivery, for example, negative attitudes related to aging and the likely benefit of CBT. Despite normal age-related declines in some cognitive domains, research to date suggests that normal cognitive changes do not significantly impact on treatment outcomes over the course of CBT; a case example is presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-71
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cognitive Psychotherapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • anxiety
  • older adult
  • geriatric
  • therapy adaptations


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