Cognitive therapy for performance anxiety

J Clin Psychol. 2004 Aug;60(8):809-20. doi: 10.1002/jclp.20039.


We present and illustrate the major components of cognitive therapy for performance anxiety, focusing on the performance fears of a client treated with a protocol designed for social phobia. The basic supposition of cognitive theory is that a client's thoughts and beliefs about situations maintain distressing feelings, such as anxiety. Changing these beliefs involves detection and disputation of anxiety-provoking thoughts, as well as testing of these thoughts through exposure to feared situations. Through a process of identifying existing beliefs about performance situations and challenging these beliefs, clients can gain a more realistic and less anxiety-producing perspective on performance tasks. Specific techniques, along with common difficulties and potential solutions, are presented in a detailed case study.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Biofeedback, Psychology
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Planning
  • Phobic Disorders / therapy*