Does anyone know much about cognitive behavioral therapy?

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MCarol
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Does anyone know much about cognitive behavioral therapy?

Postby MCarol » Wed May 18, 2011 8:08 am

I know people here are not experts but I would like to hear from people who have tried this therapy. My psychiatrist has recommended this therapy for me and I have read online about it. It sounds scary to me and I wonder what thoughts others may have. Thank you.

Ahorse

Postby Ahorse » Thu Jul 14, 2011 5:07 pm

Hello,

It's actually not scary in the slightest and does work very well. It can allow you to take control of your thoughts and stop the negative or bad thoughts from affecting your feelings.

I won't say more now as this is a couple of months old. If you do respond I'll give you a lot more info OK.

Bottom line is your mood needs to be reasonable to allow yourself to absorb and have a chance of practicing. So if you're in the pits, it will be a waste of time. Wait until meds have helped you improve.

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dandelion
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Postby dandelion » Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:31 am

I would recommended a self-help book called Feeling Good by David D. Burns. It's a manual book on how to do CBT on your own. I am using that book myself and the book helps a lot. Good luck!

dandelion
In the hopes of reaching the moon, men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.
- Albert Schweitzer

Ahorse

Postby Ahorse » Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:57 pm

Hi Dandelion,

That book, "Feeling Good" is over 40 years old and was one of the first "self help" books. It was a big thing in it's day but really has been superceded by books written over the last decade.

CBT was not even a concept when that book was written. It came to be the "next big thing" during the 90's, some 20 years after the Feeling Good book was written.

If you find value in it that's great but it really is rather passe in today's medical terms.

Kiku
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Postby Kiku » Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:45 pm

My shrink wanted me to do this therapy
He kinda tried to force me, think it was because he was leading the project in my region, so I automatically resisted it. But I've heard its supposed to be effective.

Ahorse

Postby Ahorse » Thu Jul 21, 2011 7:55 pm

Hi Kiku,

Yeah, that's a natural thing we do isn't it? I always went the other way when authority said "Do this". I guess I'm quite cynical or just not trusting enough to just follow what someone suggests.

I actually asked my shrink if I should do it and he said "Why not, anything is worth a try". SO I did a group course, about a dozen in it and I found I was one of the few who actually spoke up. I used to be timid as a mouse and sit quietyly in corners wherever I could but have learnt you get ignored doing that so I speak out and say what I feel and challenge what is said if I feel that way.

Being in the course was very good as it was interacting with other people who had the same interest, getting better.

I didn't like the session leader though, he made it sound way too simple and I challenged his statements a lot. I think he was glad when it was finished as I annoyed him.

CBT is based on a theory that we can take control of our thoughts by "catching" them as they start and challenging the validity of them. This flows from the fact that depression is caused directly by our own negative thoughts. WHy we think negatively is a separate issue as it may have taken many years for us to become that way. Lots of bad things or even one nasty traumatic event.

SO I'd say to him in the session. "OK, you say just catch the thought and challenge the validity of it. I feel suicidal quite often so if I catch that thought on it's way through and challenge it my thought process would be :

. I want to suicide,
. Is that valid, why do I want that,
. I'm deeply depressed, have had no relief for years and feel that life is not worth living,
. I want to stop this pain and that's the only way that seems like it will succeed. no treatment has to date, except for short periods,

So I conclude the thought IS valid. What do I do then with this CBT? He dismissed that as silly as no one wants to die. But my thought process was valid, just deeply depressed.

After the course I could not make CBT work by myself at all and became bitter and angry that another treatment failed. I was a failure, again.

Spoke to my doc and his advice was "CBT is a newish theory but it does help many people from the evidence I've seen and read. Regrettably the evidence is also that those, like yourself, with deep depression don't often get anything from it as your negative thinking is too powerful and entrenched. But it was worth trying as it may have helped you."

I was pretty angry. Later on I did another course, one on one with a very nice lady who seemed desperate to have me understand and get benefit from it.

She had a particular issue with "schemas". These are expectations that we have built up during our lives of how things should work in many situations.

For example, I expect people to be honest, don't lie or cheat, help each other, be polite, timely, respectful and always do the right thing by others. These are values I got from my mother as a young child.

The psychs point was if I expect that in every situation I will be disappointed mostly and will hurt myself. I agree with that but I made the point to her that I could not lower my standards to what others presented or I would let down the person I needed the most. Me. I'd feel sick inside to act like the people I do not like and could not act as they do. She didn't understand that but I don't know why.

I have my own standards and I think they are right. Why should I drop them to accomodate others? If I get hurt then I get hurt. But that hurt could never be as bad as if I became a liar, a cheat and so on. Do you follow? I'd be failing myself and therefore anyone.

I enjoyed talking to her but we could not agree. So I stopped half way through the course.

And still couldn't make it work. Again though, I was very depressed and unable to accept views that I did not feel were right.

I ran CBT down for a couple of years, telling people it was a waste of space and just a fad etc. The only benefit I said was to those who wrote the books, money.

I forgot about it and kept up meds and chats with my shrink over the next couple of years and then I found myself starting to use CBT. Not consciously. I just found I was suddenly thinking "Is that right" when a thought entered my head.

I had absorbed the theory readily as it is quite easy to follow and practical. It's simply stopping negative thoughts and changing to a different thought.

I found I could do it readily and finally realised something that sounds very silly really. I could actually decide what to think, whenever I wanted to.

Silly to most but to me, a revelation. I started by focusing on the time when the worst thoughts hit, when I lay down to sleep. When I did that my thoughts usually just rotated through all the bad events and reinforced how weak, stupid and worthless I was. I had let that happen for decades. Truly.

You see I just thought that my brain ran the show. It decided what I'd do and sent the thought through for my reaction. Today I can see how dumb that was as the thought had to come from somewhere.

The thing I came up with to stop that nightly horror show which affected my days as well, was to start writing a book of fiction, in my head. So as I lay I'd do so deliberately recalling where the story was up to and working through it to find the next development etc.

I found I kept going over the same bit until I actually wrote it down on my PC. Once I'd done that I could start a new chapter. And so it went, slowly, some days no writing, some days only a few words or maybe 500.

Over time I found I had a real book with well over 100,000 words. I am nearly complete but of course it has taken a very long time, several years now.

But I no longer thought of all that old stuff and when I got up it wasn't there either.

So I achieved the result of practicing CBT, in my own way but with the result it promises. To catch and change those negative thoughts that are killing us. I do still have some of those thoughts but they last maybe minutes before I realise and stop them.

I must be slow or something, too egocentric perhaps as I never even had the thought before that I, me, could control my thoughts.

How dumb is that?

Yes, CBT works but it isn't easy and it's not quick. It takes time to turn around a negative thought process we may have had for many years. Doing all the exercises in the course and listening to the theory felt useless but it was absorbed and eventually just started replacing the old way of thinking.

So, if your mood is Ok then do it and try not to expect to walk out the door and be a new person. Expect it to take time and thought to be able to use it. I fought it big time but it still got through!

If you are on meds don't expect CBT to replace them either. I still take meds and probably will my whole lif. I'm 60 now you see and had 50 years of depression etc and it's unlikely I could just return to "normal".

To be blunt, I don't know what normal is, I don't recall what it was like pre depression as I was only 10. I know I was a real happy and outgoing kid until then but that changed overnight with a car accident.

SO I don't know what "happy" is either. To me happy is an illusion. We have moments of extreme high, happiness or bliss but they are fleeting and serve to contrast the mundane and down times. But when people say they want to be happy? I think they are fools, unrealistic. If we were "happy" all the time how would we know it was happy? There would be no contrast you see.

SO I now have achieved a peaceful mind, don't think that old stuff, have no fear and anxiety is rare. I do isolate by choice but that's not a fear of people etc. It's more a fear of how I may react to what they do.

Aplogies for the book length, you see what writing has done to me? I love it.

Obayan
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Postby Obayan » Thu Jul 21, 2011 10:14 pm

I took CBT and it helped me soooooo much. I hope you find what you are looking for as well.

Light
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Postby Light » Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:34 pm

I have started cognitive therapy with a therapist recently and I find it to be very helpful for me. Once it was explained properly it makes perfect sense. I prefer it over medication because it has no side effects.
Fear is the unknown; If you fear something....learn about it

We must want to change before we can accept change


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