Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is widely regarded as the most effective way of treating anxiety disorders. As such, it also the most common form of treatment. It is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on our thoughts and how we react to them. It has been extensively researched and has demonstrated a long history of effectiveness with a variety of problems, not just anxiety disorders.
CBT emphasises flexibility in order to meet the needs of the patient. This is important as everyone experiences anxiety disorders in a slightly different way.
What sets CBT apart is that patients are actively involved in their own treatment. There is a large emphasis placed on educating the patient in order for them to understand their condition and how it affects their thoughts and actions. This makes the patient more aware of their anxiety disorder and more capable of trying to beat it. Just as importantly, it also makes them feel in control of their condition. However, most crucially, the patient learns the skills they need to deal with their disorder well after their therapy is complete.
Due to this active involvement, you can usually expect to work on your therapy outside of the structured therapy sessions. This out-of-session work can vary, ranging from being tasked to face a specific fear or trigger, or keeping a journal or diary.
Do I need Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?
If you feel as though your levels of anxiety interferes with your life, or prevents you from living the sort of life that you wish to live, you should consider seeking professional help.
You will likely need to have at least one session with a therapist in order to determine if Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is right for you. Remember, there are a variety of treatments, some requiring psychotherapy, others requiring medication. All have their pros and cons. Your therapist should go through these options with you in order to find the best possible treatment for your condition.
Take the therapists advice on board, but ultimately the decision for how your anxiety is treated is completely up to you.
Who can provide Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?
Although it may appear as though CBT is a simple procedure, it actually requires a skilled therapist in order to be effective. Always ensure that the therapist you choose has relevant qualifications and is registered with your jurisdictions relevant association. You may even need to visit several different therapists before you find one that you’re comfortable with.
CBT requires an unbiased, external third-party and as such, is not something you can provide for yourself. However, you can still take on the basic principles and try to apply them to your daily life. Reading self-help books or maintaining a journal or anxiety diary are two popular and effective examples.