How CBT helps with Fear of failure

Sophie (student, 22) came to me because she often experienced high anxiety levels, especially before an exam or test.


Thoughts like: “I’m going to fail” and “If I fail I won’t graduate”, came up. Of course these thoughts had a great impact on her mood; she felt panicking and worried. The thoughts also had a negative effect on her behaviour; she just kept studying until very late in the evening, which made her less fit during the actual exam. So her anxiety to fail was becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy!

In CBT you explicit your (automatic) thoughts and together with the therapist you start examining and validating them.

Looking at her thoughts together in our sessions made her realise that her way of thinking was quite black/white and exaggerating, not really realistic and certainly not very helpful! By changing her way of thinking in more realistic, nuanced and more helpful thoughts, she experienced far less anxiety and could handle her exams in a more healthy way.

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