Cognitive behavioral therapy, abbreviated as CBT, is a popular as well as proven technique to treat anxiety disorders, both generalized anxiety, and social anxiety. CBT is a short-term treatment but its objective is very strong. The therapy aims at developing skills to help you alter emotional responses that are harmful to your wellbeing. The therapist helps to change the thoughts and behaviors that trigger or worsen your anxiety.
Undoubtedly, CBT for anxiety is effective. It’s because the therapy changes the thoughts, which come before feelings. With changed thoughts, there will be no feelings leading to negative emotions and unhealthy behaviors. In simple terms, CBT breaks the chain of thought, feeling, and behavior.
Now, the question that comes to mind is how CBT is effective for anxiety disorders. There is always a question about what exactly happens or what the therapist does in the CBT session.
Things in an anxiety CBT session happen in stages. In this post, we will discuss the stages taking an example of social anxiety.
First: You and your therapist identify the negative thought
There is no need to find a solution without knowing the problem. Similarly, there is no use of CBT without knowing the negative thoughts that lead to feelings and then to wrong behavior.
It takes time to uncover the negative thoughts because they occur occasionally. In this process, you will talk to your therapist and explain your feelings toward going to parties and meeting others. Also, you will tell how you feel when you attend a party. This isn’t all.
Later, you and your therapist will find the root thoughts behind your anxiety and try to tackle each one of them separately. Just remember that every thought has to be handled individually because they are naturally different.
Second: The therapist asks you to challenge the negative thought
You identified the negative thought, which is the reason for your anxiety disorder. Now, the next stage is to challenge it. The therapist will help you question the evidence for your thought, analyze the belief behind it, and reality test it.
In this stage, you will discuss the reasons to feel awkward at parties. You will explain the story behind it. With this, you will test your negative thoughts by separating them from reality. You will try to understand how your thoughts are restricting you from socializing.
Third: The therapist replaces the negative thought with a realistic one
You identified and challenged your negative thoughts. Now, it’s time for the main action. If you change your negative thought to its opposite extreme, it won’t stick in your mind for long. So, you should find a realistic thought that passes the reality test to replace the negative thought.
Regarding your awkwardness at parties, you shouldn’t think that other people are seeing you in a way that brings awkwardness to you at parties. You shouldn’t fall for your feelings and emotions and judge everyone around you accordingly.
In CBT, you learn more about cognitive distortions. When you challenge your negative thoughts and replace them with realistic ones, it becomes easier for you to identify distortion before they hurt you. So, find a therapist for anxiety CBT in London and heal yourself for a better life.