Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for Anxiety in Aberdeen at Possibilities can help you manage your distress and begin to enjoy life again. Unfortunately, stress, depression, panic, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and other emotional issues often accompany anxiety. If this is the case for you, please also see links: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for Depression Aberdeen.
What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) focuses on how your thoughts and behaviour mutually affect how you feel and your body reactions. CBT provides a useful box of tools and techniques that, with help from your CBT therapist, you can learn to apply in order to manage anxiety. For more information about CBT, please see: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Aberdeen.
CBT for Anxiety
Anxiety is a normal part of everyday life and a common reaction to stressful events, such as facing a job interview. The only people without any anxiety are usually very dead people! Low levels of anxiety can be helpful. For example, anxiety helps us work through challenging situations, to raise our performance and reach our goals, for example, passing exams.
However, for some people, ongoing high levels of anxiety and worry are overpowering, disabling and adversely impact on normal functioning at home, work (school) and with family and friends. Anxiety can ruin lives. It is frequently behind addictions as people self-medicate with alcohol and substances to manage their symptoms.
The original evolutionary purpose of anxiety was about preparing our bodies to cope with dangerous life-threatening situations. This aspect was highly developed in humans over millions of years and has helped us survive through the milleniums.
Unfortunately, this 'hard-wired' capability is easily triggered and when heightened and prolonged, is not so useful in our modern lives. Although there are very few tigers waiting to pounce from behind parked cars and the like, in relation to the challenges of modern life, our minds and bodies will often act as if this is the case.
Anxiety can be a reaction to things like stress, change, upset, illness, trauma and worry. Anxiety encourages us to watch out for possible 'danger' and future threats. It becomes a problem when the intensity of anxieties and worries plus associated physical symptoms and avoidance of feared situations begin to adversely interfere with our day to day life, general functioning and how we cope or don't cope with lifes challenges.
Anxiety shows itself in the way it alters: how we think; how we feel; how our body reacts; and what we do. There are many different forms of anxiety, such as panic and phobias.
Certain situations may trigger the following chain of inter-connected 'anxious' responses:
Feelings: worry, nervousness, fear, terror, irritability, etc.
Body Reactions: heart racing, tummy butterflies, tension, breathlessness, sweating, agitation, feeling 'on edge', needing to go to the toilet more frequently, etc.
Anxious Thoughts: "I need to escape", "I will faint", "I can't face it", "I will lose control", "it will be a disaster", Anxiety about anxiety, etc.
Behaviours: avoiding people, places and situations, pacing, refusing to communicate, becoming distracted, drug and alcohol misuse, etc.
How does CBT Therapy help?
CBT helps you work through anxiety by providing you with new skills which you can use to tackle the ways you think and the ways you behave which affect how much anxiety you experience.
In CBT, your therapist will help you identify what is making you feel anxious and what situations, thoughts and behaviours are keeping you feeling anxious. You then learn new ways of behaving and thinking and begin to apply these in your daily life to reduce anxiety levels. This sometimes might involve learning how to relax and also gradually begining to do some of the things you previously avoided plus generating more helpful thoughts and ways of thinking and coping.
CBT progresses at a pace you dictate which, from time to time, involves you facing a little degree of discomfort of your choice. It is important that you decide what challenges you are ready to face with the support of your therapist. You should never be forced to do anything you are not ready to do.
CBT for Anxiety - How CBT helped Mary (Clinical Example)
This example will give you a flavour of a CBT understanding of anxiety.
Following an 'unexpected' job transfer from the USA to Aberdeen, Mary (not her real name), an oil industry professional, has been increasingly under the influence of anxiety (Feelings). She has withdrawn from her work colleagues and friends, struggles into work each day, has awkward exchanges with others, avoids social situations and, each evening, consumes lots of wine (Behaviours). Her sleep is poor and in social settings, her heart races and she feels faint (Body State). Mary's mind is often filled with anxious thoughts, such as "I'm going to fail and make a fool of myself." "People will find out that I'm no good at this job." "I don't fit in here." "If I don't do better, people will think I'm no good." "If I don't get out of here, I'll go crazy." (Thoughts, Beliefs, Interpretations).
The repeated combination of all of the above lead to more and more anxiety. Therefore, there is a self-perpetuating vicious cycle between Mary's circumstances, her thoughts, behaviours, body state and feelings plus her perceived poor adjustment to a new culture alongside some significant underlying issues. Things are getting progressively worse.
In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, the therapist will help Mary to:
- Gain a CBT understanding of what is happening.
- Consider the ways that anxiety is impacting on her thinking, what she does and vice versa.
- Regain her power and influence by exploring alternative ways of thinking and behaving.
- Address underlying assumptions and beliefs that are affecting her cultural adjustment and adaptation to the new work situation.
- Apply CBT skills to her day to day life at work, home and in social situations.
Become her own CBT therapist.
All communications are treated with the highest degree of discretion and confidentiality.
Possibilities Counselling and Psychotherapy Centre has a wide range of services available to people from Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray and Grampian.
Possibilities Counselling and Psychotherapy Centre
13 Bon Accord Square