CBT...anyone tried it? 1st timer here

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
CBT...anyone tried it? 1st timer here
7
Fri, 08-27-2010 - 12:52pm

Hello all,


First time on this board, and I'm wondering if anyone here has done cognitive behaviour therapy?


I just signed up to start next month, a big step, just picking up the phone as I'm sure you will appreciate.

The next rock in your path might be a stepping stone

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-25-2004
Fri, 08-27-2010 - 1:22pm

Dee,
I think many of us will be able to give you feed back on CBT. It is the indicated therapy for most anxiety sufferers, and I can tell you from personal experience that it really helps. In my experience, CBT can in some instances help you get rid of your anxiety, but for me, what it offered was tools to effectively manage my anxiety. I may still have anxious thoughts, but I now know how to counter them and manage them so they don't escalate into full blown anxiety and panic.
I think you're doing a great thing by starting therapy! Keep us posted on how you're doing, and the best of luck to you as begin this journey!

Jess

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Sat, 08-28-2010 - 10:23pm

Thanks Jess,


What I'm wondering specifially right now, (for now)

The next rock in your path might be a stepping stone

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-25-2004
Sun, 08-29-2010 - 1:38am

The thing about therapy, any kind of therapy, is that it is to some degree patient directed. Your therapist is there to help you in the areas that you need help. Share what you're comfortable sharing, although I would encourage you to be as honest as possible. You will not be judged, and even if you think what you have to share sounds crazy or weird, believe me when I say that they've heard it all. Your therapist's office is a safe place to talk about anything and everything. If you think it's relevant or even if it's just something small that's bothering you, they can help you put it into perspective and give advice on how to handle it.

With CBT, a portion of your therapy is likely going to be about learning how to use self talk. While it can be taught in general terms, it is also helpful to a therapist and to you, to learn how to use it in specific situations or regarding specific issues or anxiety triggers. Personally, while I have found it helpful to use self talk to defuse an anxiety attack, I appreciate that my T took the time to help me identify specific triggers that I could then self talk myself through, which helped me avoid the panic attack all together.

Part of that identification process was to delve a little into my past to help me understand where some of my anxiety was rooted. Through this process I learned that I have PTSD symptoms resulting from a particularly traumatic childhood event. Sometimes I have found that sharing just a little more than I'm comfortable with has been really helpful. I think sometimes that therapy should be a little uncomfortable at times. It's the things that we don't want to face or the thing that we feel shame or guilt about that are often informing our current behavior and mood. It's not always easy, in fact, it's often harder than I imagine it would be, but it's always been worth it.

As for the journaling, I'm not much of a journaler myself. I never had to do any journaling during my therapy. She'd occasionally ask me to write lists or letters, but keeping a running journal wasn't necessary. And honestly, any time a therapist asks you to journal, it's for your own benefit. What I mean by that, is that for many it's a useful tool for tracking progress and reflection. If you don't feel it is a good fit for you, just say so. The times when my T has wanted me to track things, it's more along the lines of noting how many times I feel anxious during the day, how many panic attacks I have and what I'm doing around those times. Journaling for anxiety suffers, especially in the beginning phase of therapy, can often serve as a tool for identifying patterns, which in turn can help identify triggers. But I have found that a full out, journal as confessional isn't necessary. I just make a note when I'm feeling anxious and any pertinent things about the situation or the day.

Take care and let us know how you're doing. I'd be interested to hear what you think of CBT once you get started.

Jess

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-1998
Mon, 08-30-2010 - 10:56am

I don't know how CBT will be handled in a group setting, but I think the support you can get from others in the same boat might be a very good thing.

Having spoken to others who have a background similar to mine, and whose anxiety has manifested much like mine, has been a great comfort to me. Just knowing that I am not the only one doing these things, that often seem very lonely and isolating, that has helped me to heal in and of itself.

I swear by CBT, it can be incredibly effective. I did my CBT on my own with the help of a book, and have gotten great results. I accept that I will always have some degree of anxiety, but anxiety is normal to the human condition, it is how we learn to respond to it that determines whether we have 15 bad minutes, or lose days at a time to the anxiety, IYKWIM. My CBT was more of an internal, quiet thing where I learned to accept the anxiety, and by allowing myself to feel the anxiety sensations (separate from thoughts), I have slowly become desensitized to the sensations. Since anxiety manifests in so many ways, CBT has many forms- basically think of it as foraging new and positive paths in your mind, that in time, your mind will chose to follow over the old and negative ones that lead to anxiety.

I'll give you a concrete example of one aspect of my CBT work. I do not have significant issues with OCD, but I do tend to compulsively check the stove when I am leaving the house and the destination is stressful. While I'm waiting to leave, I can check the stove a dozen times to make sure it's really off. This is a bad, bad thing because each time I go back, it is saying to my brain that I cannot trust myself- it was off last time I checked it, why would I check it again? With CBT you learn to check the stove once and leave; after that you have to actively fight the urge to walk back and check again. If you give into the urge, it reenforces the need to check. At first it was terrible to walk out of the house only having checked the stove once, it was all I'd think about while I was out. I remember one day as I left the anxiety was quite high, and my neighbor was burning trash, so as soon as I stepped outside all I smelled was smoke and fire. I was panicky the entire time I was out that morning, it was just terrible--- but over time I have learned that I check it, and leave, and have to have some degree of trust that everything is fine. It has gotten so much easier over time, but I do still have bad days when my stress levels are up. Nowadays I can generally check the stove once, and leave, and not even think about it while I am out of the house. That alone is a huge change from where I was a year and a half ago.

Oh, and on those bad days when I can't seem to stop myself from checking 3 or 4 times before leaving--- I am now able to recognize that for what it is, usually my nervousness about where I am going. I can actually laugh a little at myself because I now know why I do it (and it has little to do with the stove), and just recognizing it as a nervous tick has taken some of the power out of the anxiety.

Good luck with your therapy! Congratulations on taking such a big step!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-11-2004
Mon, 08-30-2010 - 3:41pm
Hi, Dee & welcome! I've had CBT individually. I have also attended group therapy for grief & depression. I'm not sure exactly what you can expect within a CBT group. Hopefully the leader has plans for the direction the group will take. There will be a goal & since you say you have fears, the goal would be to address the fears. Fear is learned. It can be un-learned. Also, I believe the leader will suggest techniques you can teach yourself to cope better. It is always helpful to hear about others who are like us & how they have changed their lives & learned to cope better.
CBT involves problem solving. The problem is identified. Then it is addressed. Since this is a behavior *thing,* you will identify the behavior you want to change. Then, you will use techniques such as belly breathing, imagery, progressive relaxation, repeating positive affirmations, etc. to face the problem & cope better with it. In time, facing the fears(desensitizing) will allow you to become more comfortable. I am pretty sure you will have homework. Chances are good you will be asked to face your fears on your own & report back to the group. I can assure you, that noone will expect you to face anything until you have the skills under your belt. If there is a common fear or fears within the group, you may as a group, challenge that fear or fears. For instance, the fear of eating in public or the fear of germs in restrooms. The group would all visit a restaurant or a restroom. All of this is what *I think* the group will entail. Please let us know how you find it. (I have no clue about journaling, but it would seem to be a good idea to mark your progress.) GL & GBU! (((hugs))) jan
 

 


 



iVillage Member
Registered: 12-25-2004
Mon, 08-30-2010 - 4:42pm

Somehow I missed the whole "group therapy" part of your original post. This is what comes of reading things in the wee hours of the morning. I've never done group therapy before, so I have no advice to offer in that area. I would be interested to hear how they do the CBT in that setting, though, if you don't mind sharing.

Take care, and keep in touch!

Jess

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Tue, 08-31-2010 - 11:26am

Thanks for all the insight and support.


I told a girlfriend last night that I was signed up for this, (first person I've told other than y'all) and got a big thumbs up.

The next rock in your path might be a stepping stone