Successfully Treating Anxiety and Depression Following Traumatic Brain Injury: Research Brief

Efficacy of Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety and Depression Symptoms Following Traumatic Brain Injury

Roughly 60% of the estimated 1.5 million Americans who suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year experience depression and anxiety. In the past, treatment effectiveness has been limited. However, an adapted CBT (aCBT) course with booster sessions is shown to alleviate anxiety and depression.   

Ponsford et al (2016) demonstrated the lasting benefit of CBT in reducing depression and anxiety among TBI patients compared to controls. A subsequent study further highlights that cognitive impairment is not a barrier to achieving symptom reduction. (Ponsford et al, 2019)

The adapted CBT (aCBT) course included repetition and prompting, a manual containing handouts and visual prompts, self-monitoring record sheets, management strategies for executive difficulties and a focus on concrete behavioral strategies over the course of 9-weeks and three booster sessions..  

Highlights from the Study


At the conclusion of anxiety treatment, 33 vs 13% moved into the normal range.  A similar long-term effect was noted on the outcome depression measure.

This long-lasting change may be attributed to the self-monitoring skills patients learn in the treatment of anxiety. 

At Feeling Good Institute, we use a model of evidence-based CBT that’s effective across many levels of cognitive functioning. We teach concrete skills, track behavioral goals, and build lifelong skills.

Learn about the essential skills for effective cognitive behavior therapy and how we set therapists up for success.

Feeling Good Tips In Your Inbox

High-quality content. Zero spam.

When was the last time you felt your best

Find A Therapist

Get matched with a therapist proven and vetted to help you feel better faster