“How do I prepare for CBT?” is the common question asked by many in cognitive behavioral therapy. The concept of this therapy involves helping the person who is suffering from anxiety and panic attacks to recognize the root cause of the fear and then work with the individual to eliminate that fear. It is hoped that once the initial threat has been acknowledged, that the anxiety will fade away. It is hoped that after the treatment has ended, the individual will regain a sense of control over his or her life, and a new lease on life will be found.
Many people wonder how their therapist prepares them for CBT. One way that a therapist might go about preparing a patient for CBT is through exposure. In other words, the therapist slowly makes the patient recognize the root cause of their fears, and over time, that fear will fade away. The process of exposure can take place through the process of re-enacting imagined and actual scenarios that would trigger a response in the patient. Thus, the therapist slowly teaches the patient self-awareness, and the ability to properly think about what their body is feeling at the moment, as well as what thoughts are running through their mind.
This “invisible therapy” is done under the guidance of a therapist, but can be done anywhere there is a person who might benefit from psychotherapy. The primary advantage of this therapy is that it helps to ensure that anxiety does not become rooted in a person’s psyche. A therapist provides constant guidance, which in turn helps the patient to avoid negative thinking patterns. As a result, the anxiety symptoms do not get out of hand, and the patient ends up feeling better overall as a result of the psychotherapy.
When you start CBT, you will probably be put in some relaxation exercises to help you relax during the sessions. You will also probably learn breathing and meditation skills, so that you are more relaxed. You will practice building self-esteem through conversation with your therapist. Eventually, you will be guided through a self-hypnosis session where you will attempt to control your own brainwaves while you are sitting still, or wherever else you can be easily distracted.
The thought of talking about your anxiety disorder will likely send shivers down your spine! But once you have had a good discussion with your psychotherapist, you will realise that you can discuss your fears with them, even though they may be highly personal. They will teach you techniques to help you cope with the fear and to eventually leave it behind altogether. Your treatment may focus on learning how to utilise breathing and meditation to ease anxiety, or perhaps cognitive behavioural therapy, which deals with changing your way of thinking. However, whatever form of treatment that you opt for, you must make sure that you have made the effort to address and overcome your anxiety disorder, in order to benefit fully from psychotherapy.
Once you have started psychotherapy, you will need to follow your therapist’s instructions to the book. CBT is very similar to regular psychotherapy, except that there is no one to dictate what goes on between you and your therapist. Your therapist is there to support you, encourage you and help you make changes to your behaviour, your reaction to stress and your thinking. It is you who will decide how you will proceed and when you will reach your goals.
Most people who undergo psychotherapy do not know where they are going with their anxiety disorder, so they end up not reaching their goals at all. They fear that they will fail at psychotherapy and that they will relapse. This can lead to negative thoughts about your treatment and your therapist. To avoid this, you should think carefully about how you will proceed with your psychotherapy.
You may find that your anxiety disorder is much better after you have started to take part in CBT. This is especially true if you have gone through a traumatic experience and you feel that your anxiety has been caused by this event. If you have, you will need to be careful about what you tell your therapist and you will need to keep up with your therapist’s progress reports.