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ABCT Statement on COVID-19


Our understanding of coronavirus (COVID-19) is rapidly evolving. As news of the virus spreading globally and within our local communities continues, we at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies want to reassure you that concern and worry are normal and adaptive during a pandemic. Many of us are concerned about our health and that of our loved ones, especially those of us with older and possibly vulnerable family and friends. It is understandable to be concerned about our jobs and financial situation, particularly if the current outbreak continues for weeks or months.

Knowing how the virus spreads and how to protect ourselves and our loved ones can help us feel empowered and prepared to deal with the situation. It is easy to quickly become overwhelmed by conflicting and, at times, frightening information. Consuming too much news, in whatever medium, can sometimes do more harm than good. Consider choosing one or two reliable sources of health information (see below for suggestions from the CDC), and limiting the time you spend reading news each day. Follow recommended public health strategies (e.g., hand washing, staying home if sick, social distancing), and employ healthy coping strategies, such as exercising, connecting with loved ones (even virtually), and engaging in positive, productive activities. Remember that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the best known and most scientifically supported therapy for anxiety. If you need additional ideas for managing anxiety and stress during this challenging time, check out the links below.

For those of us with young children, it is important to address questions and concerns children may have in an age-appropriate way without increasing anxiety. Reassure children that worry is normal when news of a disease emerges. For very young children, a useful approach to facilitate discussion is play and drawing; with tweens and teens a conversation is best. Reassure children that COVID-19 appears to be mild in children. If you need guidance see our links below

There are also tips on dealing with anxiety in this anxiety-provoking time.

Related Information

What Is Cognitive Behavior Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of treatment that is based firmly on research findings.  It places emphasis on changing your cognitions (thoughts) or behaviors (actions) in order to effect change in how you feel. These approaches help people in achieving specific changes or goals.

Changes or goals might involve:

A way of acting: like smoking less or being more outgoing;
A way of feeling: like helping a person to be less scared, less depressed, or less anxious;
A way of thinking: like learning to problem-solve or get rid of self-defeating thoughts;
A way of dealing with physical or medical problems: like reducing back pain or helping a person stick to a doctor’s suggestions.

Cognitive behavioral therapists usually focus more on the current situation and its solution, rather than the past. They concentrate on a person’s views and beliefs about their life. CBT is an effective treatment for individuals, parents, children, couples, and families. The goal of CBT is to help people improve and gain more control over their lives by changing behaviors that don’t work well to ones that do.

How to Get Help

If you are looking for help, either for yourself or someone else, you may be tempted to call someone who advertises in a local publication or who comes up from a search of the Internet. You may, or may not, find a competent therapist in this manner. It is wise to check on the credentials of a psychotherapist. It is expected that competent therapists hold advanced academic degrees. They should be listed as members of professional organizations, such as the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies or the American Psychological Association. Of course, they should be licensed to practice in your state. You can find competent specialists who are affiliated with local universities or mental health facilities or who are listed on the websites of professional organizations. You may, of course, visit our website ( and click on “Find a CBT Therapist”

The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) is an interdisciplinary organization committed to the advancement of a scientific approach to the understanding and amelioration of problems of the human condition. These aims are achieved through the investigation and application of behavioral, cognitive, and other evidence-based principles to assessment, prevention, and treatment.

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