Tag Archives: cbt

CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

http://anxietynetwork.com/content/cognitive-behavioral-therapy

What is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

If we are serious about overcoming an anxiety disorder, we need to approach anxiety from every positive angle and perspective that we have available to us.  Therefore, we focus on three main areas, all three of which must be addressed in therapy:

1. COGNITIVE

(thinking/belief processes)

Here we learn new methods and ways to change our old thinking patterns and habits.  If we’re always thinking and expecting the worst to happen, then we will continue to suffer.  We can train or condition our minds to think and respond differently than we have in the past.  Or think of it this way – our brain was conditioned to think and feel negatively, but NOW we can be reconditioned to think rationally and healthfully.

We have many dozens of specific methods and strategies that we use to overcome anxiety — and you only need to find several methods that work well for you.  We usually start CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) at this stage.

Some effective cognitive-behavioral  techniques are:

Slow-talk/slow walk/slowing down/relaxing

Stopping automatic negative thinking (ANTs)

The acceptance paradox: how we keep the fires burning and how to put them out

Rational and helpful self-statements that become permanent and “automatic” thoughts

Continuing to move forward, step by step

Whose voice are you listening to, anyhow?  Do we have to listen and believe all the old lies?

The determination factor: becoming more focused and determined.  Determination is a powerful process.  It does not involve aggression or any other negative emotion.  It is a postive emotion that means, “I am serious about overcoming my anxiety.  If I work on therapy daily, and give it time and patience, I know I will gradually reduce my anxiety in these situations.

Focusing: What are you paying attention to?  Are you paying attention to what is rational?  Or, are you still seeing things from an irrational, skewed perspective?

Later, it’s important we address perfectionism, anger, frustration, setbacks, and our view of the world.

2. BEHAVIORAL

(what we DO)

The behavioral aspect of therapy is the part where we actually put everything into place — in everyday, real-life, practical situations where we are bothered by anxiety and depression.

This area is always handled at the same time or directly after cognitive therapy, because we need a strong foundation of cognitive and emotional skills and strategies so that we can begin living and acting differently before we confront real-life challenges.  Each and every anxiety symptom has a direct strategy that works, given your determination, time, and patience.  There are no roadblocks that cannot be overcome.

This stage is essential for people with anxiety problems (such as social anxiety disorder) and serves as a powerful adjunct to individual treatment for others.

3. EMOTIONAL

(relaxation/peaceful/strength, and power strategies)

It is important to have some type of relaxation or “de-stress” strategy that is accessible whenever we need it.  In this area, calmness and peace are the goals.

The more your brain is quiet and relaxed, the easier therapeutic information can get into it and be processed.  This is simply another way to let the therapy reach your brain and gently sink in.

Our focus is on peace and calmness here.  We do not focus on decreasing anxiety by using these methods.  Why?  As peace and calmness become a little stronger, it tends to “crowd out” the anxieties and fears we have.  Therefore, we never need to focus on the anxiety, the nervousness, or the fear.  Our attention is on healing, healthiness, and inner peace.

All of this is achievable in a good cognitive-behavioral group.

How CBT impacted me…

Cognitive behavioral therapy is structured around the idea that our thoughts influence our feelings and behavior. The idea being that if we can change our  reaction to the thoughts we can in turn change our behavior. Over time something that used to be triggering no longer is, and something that usually would become trigger no longer has the same hold on an individual.

When my anxiety got really bad, I started searching the web for answers on how to cope with anxiety provoking thoughts. I ended up finding lots of information on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I started to look for a CBT trained therapist and ended up finding one who uses CBT and Mindfulness. The process was not easy at all, but definitely worth it.  I was able through working hard and being guided by my therapist to challenge my thoughts and ultimately change my perspective.

For example, the idea that I was inadequate would before evoke a response of “I feel inadequate so it must be true” after cognitive behavioral therapy the response changed to “ I accept the presence of this thought, and I know it is just a thought”. The most gratifying experience of cognitive behavioral therapy is when I was able to recognize that I not only had a pattern of negative and self-consuming thoughts, but I had thousands of thoughts. When I was able to observe the other thoughts, I then was able to push the self-consuming thoughts in the same backdrop. I had no response to them, they were just the same as the thousands of other thoughts I had. I started to view my thoughts differently, and was able to watch them come and go with no judgment and no attachment.

I also learned that my thoughts were not connected to the core of who I am as a person. And that the “What if…” is not something that can ever be answered no matter how long and how much time I spent ruminating about the thoughts.

I still have moments of anxiety, but I now have the tools and resources to tackle it much more effectively. My anxiety is no longer crippling, and I am able to live a much more healthier and fulfilling life.

“You are not your mind.”
– Eckhart Tolle