User Experiences of CBT for Anxiety and Depression: A Qualitative Systematic Review and Meta-synthesis

Becky Yarwood*, Rachel Taylor, Ioannis Angelakis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based treatment for anxiety and depression. It is important to determine the positive and negative aspects of CBT from the perspective of service users. However, there has been a lack of qualitative exploration into service user experiences of the therapy. This review aimed to address this gap by examining participants' experiences of CBT for anxiety and depression. Databases were searched and data were synthesised thematically. CBT was well-received by participants, though barriers to engagement were identified. CBT was often perceived as too difficult or demanding, as well as interventions being short and therefore superficial. Clinician qualities of being trustworthy, non-judgemental, and understanding appear to be significant contributors to client engagement and recovery. Findings support the delivery of in-depth clinician led CBT for anxiety and depression, as well as highlighting the need to review CBT delivery to better support service users. [Abstract copyright: © 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.]
Original languageEnglish
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number00
Early online date26 Oct 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Oct 2023


  • Meta-synthesis
  • Qualitative
  • Anxiety
  • CBT
  • Lived experience
  • Depression


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