Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Treating Anxiety Disorder

CBT For Anxiety At Counselling AshfordCognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) may be the leading choice for treatment of many forms of anxiety at this point. It has been shown to be as effective as prescription medications in the treatment of panic disorder and phobias, and also shows great promise for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, it is no “wonder drug” or miracle solution. Cognitive behavioural therapy for treating anxiety disorder, is a fairly complex process that always requires active participation  and continued commitment  by the patient, as well as the guidance of a knowledgeable teacher or therapist in most cases.

To start with, cognitive behavioural therapy is not one thing, but rather a general term for a number of similar but distinct therapies, such as Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, Rational Behaviour Therapy, Rational Living Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy.

One thing all these therapies share, however, is the belief that what controls our feelings and behaviours is actually our thoughts – not external things, like people, situations, and events.  If we can change the way we think, we can feel better and react differently even if external factors do not change. The therapist’s role is to teach clients how to recognize and challenge their own irrational and self-destructive beliefs and consciously correct them.

CBT is an educational process, which holds that to the extent that emotional and behavioral reactions are learned, they can be unlearned. The goal of therapy is to help clients unlearn unwanted reactions and replace them with new ways of reacting to stress and anxiety triggers.

CBT therapists focus on teaching rational self-counselling skills. Counselling sessions rely on conversation and structured questioning to help patients identify the specific thoughts and situations that disturb them, analyze those factors rationally, and learn specific techniques and concepts for defusing them when they crop up. Homework and reading assignments are an essential part of the process and are key to making CBT a relatively short-term, time-limited treatment.

Homework and techniques commonly used in CBT include maintaining a diary of events and the feelings, thoughts and behaviors they trigger; asking questions and challenging the patient’s faulty or unrealistic perceptions and beliefs; learning to overcome avoidance and confront challenging situations and activities; training in relaxation, mindfulness and distraction techniques.

Exposure therapy and desensitization are basic features of most CBT for anxiety disorders. Once the client and therapist have identified the anxiety triggers and their associated thoughts and feelings, they work to break the response pattern by recreating or evoking those events and feelings under controlled conditions. It is essential to begin by teaching relaxation techniques, meditation, or breathing exercises that will enable the patient to control their fearfulness and anxiety during the exposure process. Gradual habituation leads the patient to deal through low levels of stimulation and then builds up until he or she is no longer sensitive to the former triggers.

CBT is a deeply empowering technique, which is one reason it is so effective in treating anxiety-related disorders. Understanding the relation between your mental and physical symptoms and knowing that you possess tools and techniques to manage those symptoms can significantly reduce anticipatory anxiety-which is often the key difference between occasional bothersome but essentially normal episodes of anxiety or even panic, and a full-blown debilitating chronic anxiety disorder.

The Therapy Hour offers a full suite of CBT approaches to assist in treating anxiety and panic disorders. Complete our assessment form or contact us for more details.

Chaim Packer is passionate about helping others with this debilitating condition. For more great information on treating anxiety disorder, visit Article Source: