• Understanding and Treating Anxiety with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Insights from a Practitioner

    Introduction to CBT and Anxiety

    Hi, I’m Prath, a specialist in online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). With personal experience in navigating anxiety, I offer a unique perspective in treating this common but complex disorder. CBT, as described by Beck (2011), is a structured, present-focused talk therapy, effective in resolving problems and changing dysfunctional thinking and behavior.

    Effectiveness of CBT in Treating Anxiety Disorders

    Research by Carpenter et al. (2018) has established CBT as a highly effective treatment for anxiety disorders. It operates on the principle of altering unhelpful thought patterns and behaviors to reduce psychological suffering. In my practice, I’ve witnessed significant improvements in clients who are committed to the therapeutic process, including regular counselling sessions and homework exercises.

    My Personal Approach to Client Engagement

    In my practice, the initial step involves conducting an in-depth intake process. This allows me to understand the client’s challenges comprehensively and develop a customized treatment strategy.

    Each session is driven by a collaboratively set agenda, focusing on managing difficult emotions, imparting education about anxiety, and teaching strategies for coping and improvement.

    Anxiety Disorders: Prevalence and Nature

    Anxiety disorders are globally prevalent, with 12-month rates of around 11.6% (Carpenter et al., 2018, pp. 502–503). Affecting one in four individuals over their lifetime (Smoller et al., 2009, p. 965), these disorders can significantly reduce quality of life. Understanding their causes remains complex, but a combination of genetics, environmental factors, and effective treatments like CBT and medication play crucial roles in management.

    Genetic and Environmental Factors in Anxiety Disorders

    Research shows that if someone in your family, like a parent or sibling, has an anxiety disorder, you’re four to six times more likely to develop one too (Smoller et al., 2009, p. 966). Studies involving identical twins reveal that genetics play a role in these disorders, as seen in 12–26% of identical twins both having anxiety disorders. (p. 966). However, this isn’t always the case, suggesting that factors in your environment or your life experiences also affect whether you’ll have an anxiety disorder.

    The Personal Impact of Living with Anxiety

    Anxiety disorders manifest as restlessness, tension, and in severe cases, panic attacks and physical symptoms like increased heart rate and sweating. They can affect social interactions and professional life, leading to a diminished sense of well-being.

    CBT’s Role in Specific Anxiety Disorders

    1. Panic Disorder: CBT teaches coping skills for panic attacks, including relaxation and cognitive restructuring (Deupree, 2023b).
    2. Phobic Disorders: CBT involves systematic desensitization or exposure therapy to reduce phobia-related anxiety (NHS, 2022).
    3. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): CBT focuses on relaxation, problem-solving, and cognitive restructuring (Borza, 2017).
    4. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): CBT disrupts the link between obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior (Deupree, 2023a).

    Benefits of CBT for Anxiety Disorders

    CBT has shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of various anxiety disorders, including GAD, social anxiety, and panic disorder (Carpenter et al., 2018). My goal as a therapist is to help clients manage their anxiety, ensuring they do not catastrophize or feel overwhelmed by their condition.

    Conclusion and Invitation for Counselling

    If you’re facing challenges with OCD, GAD, or any anxiety disorder, CBT can offer significant relief and improvement. You can book a free consultation by emailing me at [email protected] or visit my booking page at https://newfoundresilience.janeapp.com/#/staff_member/1/treatment/3.

    Let’s navigate your anxiety together and find a path to a more fulfilling life.

    References

    Beck, S. J. (2011). Cognitive behavior therapy: Basics and beyond (2nd ed.). Guilford Press.

    Borza, L. (2017). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for generalized anxiety. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 19(2), 203–208. https://doi.org/10.31887/DCNS.2017.19.2/lborza

    Carpenter, J. K., Andrews, L. A., Witcraft, S. M., Powers, M. B., Smits, J. A. J., & Hofmann, S. G. (2018). Cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety and related disorders: A meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. Depression and Anxiety, 35(6), 502–514. https://doi.org/10.1002/da.22728

    Deupree, S. (2023a). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Panic Disorder: How It Works & What to Expect. https://www.choosingtherapy.com/cbt-for-panic-disorder/#:~:text=CBT%20teaches%20coping%20skills%20specifically,relaxation%20techniques%2C%20and%20skills%20training.&text=Through%20CBT%2C%20the%20individual%20can,event%20of%20a%20panic%20attack.

    Deupree, S. (2023b). CBT for OCD: How It Works, Examples & Effectiveness. https://www.choosingtherapy.com/cbt-for-ocd/#:~:text=Cognitive%20behavioral%20therapy%20works%20to,when%20they%27re%20feeling%20anxious.

    NHS. (2022, July 27). Treatment-Phobias. https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/phobias/treatment/#:~:text=Cognitive%20behavioural%20therapy%20(CBT),-CBT%20is%20a&text=It%20can%20be%20used%20to,as%20desensitisation%20or%20exposure%20therapy.

    Smoller, J. W., Block, S. R., & Young, M. M. (2009). Genetics of anxiety disorders: The complex road from DSM to DNA. Depression and Anxiety, 26(11), 965–975. https://doi.org/10.1002/da.20623