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Cognitive Behavioral Therapies for Anxiety Disorders

Cognitive Behavioral Therapies for Anxiety Disorders

Cognitive and behavioral therapies are used to treat obsessive thoughts, relentless worries, crippling phobias, anxiety disorders, and panic attacks. This makes it possible to live a life that is free of constant anxiety and fear. When seeking treatments, therapy is a good place to start on the path to a healthy mind. Cognitive-behavior therapy is particularly beneficial to teach individuals how to stop worrisome thoughts, control anxiety levels, and conquer their own fears that they are faced with in their everyday lives.

What is Cognitive-Behavior Therapy?

CBT is a highly effective and well established treatment. It aims to focus on understanding, identifying, and changing negative behavior patterns. While individual results vary, results are usually seen in 12 to 16 weeks. When taking part in CBT, the patient is heavily involved with their own recovery and gain skills that they can use throughout their entire lives.

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The patient will read about their problem, keep their own records for the time between appointments, and even complete homework. While the patient will learn the skills in the therapy sessions, it is up to them to routinely practice the skills in order to see improvements.

Dialectical Behavioral therapy (DBT)

DBT integrates cognitive-behavioral techniques and some concepts from Eastern Meditation through the use of acceptance and change. The therapy is both individual and group centered, allowing the use of mindfulness. It teaches skills for tolerating stress, regulating emotions, and interpersonal effectiveness.

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Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is the cognitive behavioral therapy process by which responses of anxiety and fear are reduced as an individual is slowly exposed to the object or situation that makes them fearful. This allows them to become less sensitive over time, and this specific type of therapy has been found to be greatly effective for treating phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

When implementing this strategy, mindfulness and acceptance are key. This allows you to live in the moment and experience everything with no judgment. There is also behavioral and commitment changes, used to cope with any unwanted feelings, thoughts, and sensations. ACT uses skills that will help to accept these experiences while placing them in a different context and developing clarity about one’s personal values, and committing to the need of changed behavior.

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Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

This short-term supportive psychotherapy addresses the interpersonal issues caused by depression in adolescents, adults, or older adults. Generally, IPT involves 12 to 16 sessions that last one hour each week. The initial sessions are used to gather information about the reason for the person’s depression and interpersonal experiences.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Under specific conditions, it is possible for eye movements to potentially reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts. This EMDR treatment can have a direct effect on the brain and the way that it will process information. In short, it can help a person to see material that disturbs them in a way that causes less distress. It is similar to what happens during REM sleep, and has been proven effective for treating PTSD, phobias, and panic attacks.

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Cognitive Restructuring (Thought Challenging)

This type of therapy is when an individual challenges the negative thinking patterns that contribute to their anxiety, and then replaces these thoughts with realistic and positive ones. There are three steps that need to be done: identifying the negative thoughts, challenging the negative thoughts, and replacing the negative thoughts with realistic ones.

This therapy may also includes confronting your fears, learning coping skills and techniques for relaxation to counteract anxiety, and the tools to recognize when you are anxious and the physiology behind it.

Complementary Therapies

These are used when exploring anxiety disorders, and are designed to bring your stress level down in order to achieve emotional balance. There are several ways to implement this type of therapy including exercise, biofeedback, hypnosis, and relaxation techniques. All of these things are ways to reduce stress and anxiety, which will lead to an improvement in your health overall.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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