Monthly Archives: March 2015

How CBT Can Help With Bereavement

Loss and the resultant grief are both part of normal life. While the pain of bereavement fades over time, it can sometimes escalate into depression, impacting on a person’s well being.

CBT can help people recover from protracted periods of grief and depression triggered by bereavement.

Stages Of Grief

The therapist will work through the stages of grief including:

Acceptance of the reality of the loss
The emotional pain, guilt, suffering and anger the loss as triggered.
How to readjust to life.
Building connections and relationships with others.
Recognising the irreplaceable impact the lost loved one had, and creating ‘living memories’.

Individualised Programmes

There is no one standardized programme of CBT for dealing with grief. Instead the therapist delivers a programme of therapy tailored to the needs of the individual.

During the first session assessments will be undertaken to identify symptoms of depression and anxiety. The therapist will also seek to uncover core-beliefs, thoughts and attitudes that are impacting on the person’s well being.

Effectiveness of CBT

CBT provides an effective framework for working with bereaved people as it helps take them through three steps integral to their recovery:

Helping them understand the loss they have experienced
Identifying any barriers they are experiencing
Learning to develop strategies that will increase their sense of control.

Long Term Focus

For many people undertaking CBT, the benefits go beyond helping them to deal with their most recent bereavement. Using the skills and techniques developed in their therapy sessions they will be able to enjoy an enhanced sense of well being in the long term in many aspects of their life.

CBT In The Treatment Of Chronic Pain

Although chronic pain is notoriously difficult to treat, physical therapies tend to be more effective when combined with psychological therapies such as CBT.
When gripped by repeated pain flare-ups, we may think that all we can do is turn to the pill bottle, but turning inwards may be a more effective solution.
Vicious Cycle
Medical research suggests psychological variables such as mood, stress, fear, anxiety and depression influence the perception of pain, particularly in cases of chronic pain syndromes.
Chronic pain syndromes go beyond the pain associated with a treatable illness or medical condition. Sufferers experience pain day after day, which does not resolve despite medical interventions creating a desperately poor quality of life. Rest results in stiffness and weakness and a worsening of psychological symptoms, which worsens the perception of pain.
No Clear Treatment
The patient no longer fits into a neat category. Psychiatry cannot cure the problem as the symptoms have their root in a physical cause. But medicines and surgery cannot manage the pain, as perception of the symptoms are worsened by the psychological factors.
Using A CBT Approach
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can challenge the underlying beliefs that are undermining the patients mental and physical recovery. This is often most effective when woven together with a physical therapy. For examples, under the guidance of a psychologist a physiotherapist may explore the patient’s fears and concerns before undergoing a programme of physical therapy.
It is clear that combining psychological therapies with physical treatments offers new hope to those who suffer with chronic pain, which has yet to yield to surgery or medicines.

CBT As A Divorce Recovery Tool

Divorce takes its toll financially, physically and mentally. CBT can help those who have recently divorced begin a healing recovery process.

Damage Inflicted By CBT

Many people are left with a nagging feeling of ‘if only’, that they could have tried harder, or that the ending of their marriage is an indication of personal failing.

As a result a pattern of persistent negative thoughts may start, such as:

I don’t deserve happiness
I am unlovable
I fail at everything

Over time these thoughts become habitual and may escalate into anxiety and depression.

They stop being unpleasant, momentary thoughts, and begin to become beliefs that stops the person living well.

How CBT Helps

Through CBT the person will be encouraged to challenge the validity of these negative self-beliefs. Once the person recognises they are just thoughts, not truths, these thoughts begin to lose their power.

And with regular CBT sessions the person will learn how to identify unhelpful negative thoughts and challenge them, even when they are away from their therapist.

CBT For Children

This approach to divorce recovery can help children too. When parents divorce, the children may feel responsible and be harbouring their own negative thoughts. Family CBT sessions can help bring these thoughts to light and teach children how to challenge them.

Long Term Benefits

The benefits of CBT last long beyond the course of the therapy. The individual will develop self-reflection skills that enable them to challenge and disregard negative thoughts independently, without a therapist. Without this nagging negative thinking dragging them down they can heal more quickly from the pain of a divorce.

Why Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Can Be an Important Part of Getting Over Depression

Depression is something that can affect anyone, with an estimated one in four people experiencing it at some time in their lives. There are a wide range of treatments available, but many of these, like medication with anti-depressants, address the symptoms rather than any underlying mental cause.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is often used either on its own or in combination with other forms of treatment like medication and counselling to help people beat depression once and for all.
How Does CBT Work in Treating Depression?
The principles behind CBT involve working to restructure the way a patient thinks and reacts to certain thoughts. Thought patterns have effects on our mental state, and by changing negative thought patterns that can lead to a depressed state into better ones, a person can learn to combat depression.
CBT usually involves a course of sessions that take around 12 to 14 weeks. During these sessions the patient will learn approaches that help restructure their cognitive behaviour, and will work on addressing their own unique mind and way of thinking.
With CBT, a lot of the work has to be done by the patient themselves, and it is a far less passive experience than simply taking medication. Patients will have exercises to work on at home throughout the course, and will play an active role and take their own accountability for beating their depression. When the course is over, the patient will be equipped with powerful ways of combating depression that will stay with them for life.

What is CBT-I and Can it Cure Your Insomnia?

Insomnia is not at all rare, and it can be a horribly debilitating problem. Being unable to fall asleep can lead to frustration and stress, and not getting good quality sleep can affect your mood, your mental abilities and your capacity to function as a normal human being.
While many people resort to sleeping pills to ensure a good night’s sleep when a bout of insomnia strikes, anyone who has used these will be aware of the downsides – the strange, ‘hung over’ feeling when you wake up, and the worry that you may have to depend on these pills to sleep normally. This is why for a longer term solution, it is better to work on a ‘cure’ for your insomnia that will address the real reasons why you can’t sleep and help you develop better sleeping habits in a natural way. This is where cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) comes in.
How Does CBT-I Address Insomnia?
CBT is an established course of non medical treatment that is used to treat people with all kinds of mental problems that are related to thought patterns, mental habits and reactions, like depression, anxiety, phobias and stress. CBT-I is a branch of CBT that deals with insomnia. It involves a course of often weekly sessions where the patient’s sleep habits are analysed and their ways of thinking about sleep and their sleep habits are addressed. The patient then works with their practitioner to restructure their thought patterns and mental behaviours, to develop a natural, healthy ability to sleep properly.
CBT-I has very good success rates, and allows the patient to take responsibility for their own progress. It can be a very effective long term solution [...]

Social Anxiety – Why CBT Can Help

Some people, usually more introverted people, are happier on their own or with one or two people they are close to than at a big party or in a situation where they will have to meet new people. For others though, the discomfort of social situations is a lot more serious, and they are sent into a panic at the thought of going to a social event, and avoid social interaction to the point where it has a negative impact on their careers and general wellbeing. If you fall into the latter category and are concerned that your social anxiety is holding you back, then it may be time to consider cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
How CBT Can Fix Your Social Anxiety
CBT is all about retraining the way you think and how you react to situations or ideas. For someone with a social phobia or social anxiety, their thought patterns when invited to a social event or forced into a situation where they have to speak to strangers are usually irrational and negative.
As an example, someone with social anxiety may not want to speak to the customer service person at a store where they bought a faulty item and may therefore never return it. They will think things like ‘they won’t believe me’, or ‘they will be annoyed with me’. A more normal thought pattern would be ‘it is their job to help me’ or ‘people return things all the time, it is no big deal to them’. CBT would help the socially anxious person retrain themselves to think the more rational way.
CBT is generally a course of therapy that involves weekly sessions and doing some homework and exercises daily by [...]

How Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Helps Patients Beat Their Phobias

Most people have an intense fear of something, but when this fear is a genuine phobia it can have a big impact on their lives. Phobias are usually things that have no real basis in terms of actual danger, that the sufferer cannot rationalise but cannot control either, and they may experience serious reactions even to a harmless picture of the thing they are scared of.
Simply avoiding the thing you are phobic of is not always possible, and even if it is, most people would rather get rid of their phobia for good. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an approach that is often used to successfully cure a person of a phobia in a lasting, permanent way.
How Are Phobias Addressed With CBT?
CBT addresses your phobia by teaching you, through a course of sessions with an expert and ‘homework’ you do by yourself, how to restructure your thought patterns and change how you mentally react to the thing you fear. In most cases, you will use the techniques you learn while being gradually introduced to representations of the thing your are phobic of, for example if it is spiders, you may begin with things like reading about spiders, then as your progress, looking at pictures of them, before eventually using your new, restructured thought patterns to be able to see a real spider or even touch one.
CBT can be demanding on the patient because all the real work goes on in their own minds, but it is a well established way to cure even the most intense phobia.