Have you ever wondered if cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety could improve your life? This question becomes all the more relevant if you find yourself struggling to function each day because of stress and anxiety. Maybe you crave anxiety relief because of one or more of the following reasons:
- Panic attacks
- Social anxiety
- Anxiety attacks
- Anxiety at night
- Relationship anxiety
- Anxiety at work
This article briefly explores cognitive behavioral therapy and the value it can bring to individuals struggling with anxiety. While there are several commonly used anxiety relief interventions in the mental health field, CBT is one of the best.
Just in case you’re unfamiliar with CBT, or you’ve forgotten what it involves, let’s look at a brief CBT definition before going any further.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?
Many people new to cognitive behavioral therapy ask, “How does CBT work?” Maybe they’re interested in cognitive behavioral therapy for social anxiety. Or perhaps they want to gain a better grasp of CBT interventions for anxiety to expect during treatment.
In her “Psychology Today” article entitled “What Is CBT?” Greta Gleissner, LCSW says: “Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective combination of talk therapy and behavioral therapy. CBT is a type of psychotherapy in which patients reframe negative thinking patterns into positive thoughts.”
Although it can sometimes be challenging to see, some of the most significant turmoil in our lives is made far worse by our negative and inaccurate thinking. These unhelpful thoughts are referred to as cognitive distortions in the psychology world.
Buying into cognitive distortions is like looking at your reflection in a funny mirror or a rippling stream and judging your appearance by what you see instead of how things are. CBT helps to bring about a more accurate and helpful view about yourself and your interactions with life.
Not surprisingly, as you learn to identify inaccuracies in your thinking and reframe these thoughts into positive ones, your life will improve dramatically. CBT for anxiety doesn’t make your life stressors magically go away (Wouldn’t that be nice?). However, what CBT does do is lessen the power stressors have over your physical and mental health. With reduced stress and anxiety, you can learn how to thrive in life like never before.
What follows are some specific benefits of CBT for anxiety that you’ll likely experience if you commit to this form of therapy.
Self-Discovery and Personal Growth
Our culture often doesn’t provide an environment where self-discovery easily happens. Instead, it’s one of constant activity and packed schedules. Because of this, years (and years) can pass without you learning much about yourself. This is a shame because the more you understand who you are, the better you’ll be able to steer your life in the direction you want.
With CBT, you get to look at yourself almost as an outsider. Your job isn’t to judge or beat yourself up. Instead, you observe how you think, finding where your thoughts are correct and where they are not. Most of the time, this all happens without us noticing. But now you start seeing your thoughts in a new light!
Through CBT, you’ll learn a lot about yourself. You may discover you’re buying into a distortion you picked up from your parents. Or perhaps it’s one unique to you. But the good news is that once you learn about distortions you’re prone to grab onto, you’ll have a lifetime to reframe your thinking into something better.
As you get really good at it, you’ll be able to attack those debilitating thoughts before they take root in your mind or avoid them altogether. You’ll also become more skilled at identifying other distortions causing problems in your life.
Although medication is sometimes used to treat anxiety, it certainly isn’t your only option. CBT provides an effective medication-free approach for some anxiety strugglers, saving them from potential side effects associated with psych meds.
Also, the tendency with medications is that you become a passive observer of your anxiety instead of an active force to work towards a better life, which brings us to our next point.
You Will Feel Empowered
Cognitive behavioral therapy leads you to feel empowered in your treatment. Although sometimes necessary, medication-focused approaches can leave you feeling your only solution to your anxiety can be found through proper dosages. This leaves you feeling like there is nothing you can personally do to improve your mental wellness.
Thankfully, that isn’t the case. Just like you’re the one most responsible for your physical health, you can have a greater positive impact on your mental health than anyone else by taking the initiative. The CBT process awakens strong feelings of empowerment the further you dive into it. Perhaps for the first time, you realize that your thoughts don’t have to control and sabotage your life. You can guide them in the way you want them to go.
Something You Can Practice Outside of Therapy
CBT interventions are best learned under the direction of a licensed therapist. It also is crucial to gain periodic insight into your CBT transformation and practice. But that doesn’t mean CBT skills are just for the therapy office (or for a remote meeting with your counselor).
Instead, CBT works best when taken along on your life journey. You learn to evaluate what’s going on in your mind and to adjust accordingly. CBT can be practiced during the generally happy and fulfilled times of life. It also is incredibly valuable when the decisions and circumstances of life feel more like a battleground.
Are You Interested in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety?
If so, our therapists at the OC Relationship Center can assist you. We can work with you to decide which anxiety treatment is best for you, given your unique circumstances.
With counseling in Mission Viejo, CA and counseling in Newport Beach, CA, we provide relationship, marriage and individual counseling. If teletherapy would work better for you or is necessary because of the pandemic, that also is a valuable option to consider. Scheduling an appointment with us is simple, but could be a major turning point in your anxiety-relief journey.