CBT for Anxiety – Is Anxiety ruining your quality of life?
Anxiety and Panic Attacks are very real and can be debilitating, they can prevent you from living a full and satisfying life. When you are in the grip of panic or a severe episode of anxiety it can feel like the world is ending. When the feeling of dread or worry is constantly there, CBT for anxiety can help.
Although the physical symptoms are very real and sometimes very powerful, the good news is that you won’t die from your anxiety, though the negative effects of stress hormones released into your body over time can harm your health.
How to Stop Anxiety with CBT
CBT for Anxiety seeks to discover the ‘trigger’ to your anxiousness and gently show you ways to manage your response to it. Therapy sessions are calm, non-invasive and designed to help you to explore the reasons why you feel anxious and to give you the tools to overcome whatever is stopping you from enjoying life to the full.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is the body responding to a perceived threat or danger. When there is something to be afraid of, or when we think there is something to be afraid of our brain prepares our body to go into ‘fight, flight or freeze’ mode.
Most often feeling anxious is our emotional response to fears or feeling threatened on some level. A common example might be how we feel about other people’s expectations of us, or the expectations we have of ourselves.
The Many Ways Anxiety Is Experienced:
- Future dates in your calendar like birthday drinks, a wedding invitation, a work meeting etc. fill you with a feeling of dread.
- Your phone ringing or an email ‘pinging’ in your inbox makes you feel overwhelmed.
- Even with no specific event or thing that you are worried or anxious about, you feel overwhelmed by a constant ‘sense’, ‘feeling’ or ‘presence’ of dread and fear
Symptoms of Anxiety
When the body responds this way, the symptoms that the body experiences, because of anxiety, are intense.
You can experience some, if not all the following:
- Thoughts racing
- Unable to concentrate
- Feeling detached from the world around you
- Sweating uncontrollably
- Heart racing
- Other physical responses such as sweaty palms, feelings of nausea, stomach churning
- A sensation of ‘butterflies’ in your stomach
- Legs feeling ‘like jelly’
- Feeling the need to go to the toilet
- Your muscles feeling tense and tight
- Shallow and fast breathing.
The severity of these symptoms can vary, but at their most extreme they can build to a panic attack.
Avoidance as a Response to Anxiety
Understandably, people often adopt certain behaviours to ’stop the anxiety’. Avoidance is a common behaviour adopted to attempt to control the situation, for example, avoiding certain places or people.
Attempting to ‘delay’ the time when you need to do something, in the hope that you will feel ‘more able to’ in the future. But of course, they only make the ‘thing’ worse and your anxiety around it gets stronger.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy & Hypnotherapy for Anxiety
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and hypnotherapy can be effective treatments for anxiety because they both address the underlying thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that contribute to anxiety.
CBT is a type of talk therapy that helps clients identify and change negative thought patterns and beliefs that contribute to anxiety. By identifying and changing these thoughts and beliefs, clients can learn to better manage their anxiety symptoms. CBT also includes behavioral interventions, such as exposure therapy, which involves gradually exposing clients to feared situations in a controlled and supportive environment, to help them learn to manage their anxiety response.
Hypnotherapy, on the other hand, is a type of therapy that involves inducing a state of deep relaxation and using suggestion to promote positive changes in behavior or thought patterns. In the case of anxiety, hypnotherapy can help clients identify and change negative thought patterns and beliefs that contribute to anxiety, and replace them with more positive and helpful thoughts and beliefs. Hypnotherapy can also help clients learn relaxation techniques and develop coping strategies to manage their anxiety symptoms.
When used together, CBT and hypnotherapy can be a powerful combination for treating anxiety. CBT can help clients identify and challenge negative thought patterns and beliefs, while hypnotherapy can help reinforce positive changes and provide relaxation techniques and coping strategies to manage anxiety symptoms. Research has shown that this combination can be particularly effective for treating anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
Overall, CBT and hypnotherapy are effective treatments for anxiety because they address the underlying thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that contribute to anxiety and provide individuals with tools and strategies to manage their anxiety symptoms. It is important to note that these therapies should be administered by licensed and trained professionals.
CBT for Anxiety
Sessions are offered in-person for those living in Adelaide or Online if preferred. Therapy includes Cognitive Behavioural Therapy CBT, Psychotherapy and Hypnotherapy helping important messages hit home within the subconscious mind, allowing for positive shifts to take place.
CBT & HYPNOTHERAPY WITH DANIELLE
Danielle is dedicated to empowering clients to restore a natural state of calm, balance and wellness within themselves.
By adopting a person centred approach Danielle guides each client on their own highly personal healing journey.
Sessions are conducted in her comfortable and calming treatment room conveniently located in Payneham, South Australia with access to off-street parking. Alternatively clients are able to choose to have sessions online via Zoom in the comfort of their own home.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Before we start, let’s just briefly review what CBT is.
Originally developed by Albert Ellis and Dr. Aaron Beck in the 1960’s, CBT is a short-term therapy designed to manage stress, difficult relationships, grief, Post-Traumatic Stress and other challenges.
Previously, Behaviour Therapy focused on simply changing the client’s behaviour as the key to therapy. CBT built on that by adding the client’s thoughts, beliefs, judgements and assumptions as targets that could be changed through therapy.
Even more than hypnosis, it has been subject to an enormous amount of research, so it is extremely well-evidenced.
In 2006, the Clinical Psychology Review published one of the most cited studies of CBT – a review of 16 “methodologically rigorous” meta-analyses of the practice. Altogether it covered 9,995 subjects across 332 studies.
The researchers conclude there is strong evidence to support CBT as effective in treating depression, anxiety, certain phobias and panic disorders, and post-traumatic stress.
CBT is currently a required part of the curriculum in all clinical psychology training programmes and in nearly every psychiatric residency training programme.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends its use for a variety of psychiatric conditions.
Indeed it is the psychotherapy approach that is used most consistently in the NHS, across a wide range of mental health conditions and to aid with stress and anxiety from medical conditions.
Astounding results for CBT+Hypnosis vs CBT alone!
And in 1995, the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology published a groundbreaking meta-analysis, comparing CBT treatment without hypnosis to identical treatment with hypnosis…
…With astounding results.
The evidence was compiled from 18 case studies covering therapy issues ranging from obesity and hypertension to insomnia and public speaking anxiety.
It showed that “the average client receiving cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy benefited more than at least 70% of clients receiving the same treatment without hypnosis.”
Ten years later, the same journal published a study of combined CBT-hypnosis in treating acute stress disorder.
Again, it found that “CBT-hypnosis resulted in greater reduction in re-experiencing symptoms at post-treatment than CBT [alone].”
The researchers concluded that “hypnosis may have use in facilitating the treatment effects of CBT for post-traumatic stress.”
How to use hypnotherapy and CBT together
Why do the two treatments work so well together?
Because they are complementary.
The goal of CBT is to help people understand how their thoughts and feelings come together to produce unwanted behaviours or responses.
In CBT, people explore their thoughts, to figure out whether they are rational or helpful.
For example, a client struggling with social anxiety and lack of confidence might look at situations where they typically feel anxious, and consider whether there is any evidence to support the negative way they perceive themselves, or their worries about what might happen.
They will then try to find more helpful, balanced and reasonable ways of considering the situation, and responding to their unhelpful thoughts.
Hypnotherapy takes this process further in interesting ways.
Firstly, when you add hypnosis, most people expect their treatment to have even more impact, and raise their expectations. So that’s an immediate placebo-effect “add-on” to their CBT!
Secondly, clients can quickly experience rapid shifts in the way they feel and think under hypnosis. (“Wow! I was SO relaxed. That was amazing!”)
These shifts create hope and new possibilities in the client’s mind. It changes their belief in the treatment, in the therapist and even about themselves. (“I wonder what else I could experience or achieve?”)
And then thirdly, while in hypnosis, patients rehearse more positive ways of thinking or behaving in situations which challenge them. They imagine the thoughts, feelings and behaviour they’d like to be experiencing in those challenging situations, as if they were real.
Identifying the gene-brain mechanisms that contribute to anxiety.
There are a number of anxiety disorders:
- Generalised Anxiety is not specific to one particular thing but can be about anything and everything.
- Social anxiety disorder occurs in public situations where there is perceived risk of being judged or laughed at by others.
- A panic attack involves sudden overwhelming feelings of uneasiness, fear or terror. A person may feel they are about to have a heart attack or die. Panic disorders are diagnosed when this happens repeatedly, or when a person fears future panic attacks.
- Agoraphobia is anxiety about being in situations from which escape might be difficult or embarrassing if you have a panic attack.
- Specific phobias usually involve intense and ongoing fear of particular objects or situations such as bridges or dogs.
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) occurs when particular, sometimes repetitive, compulsive acts must be enacted in order to calm an anxiety, such as checking things numerous times.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often triggered by a major traumatic event, such as being assaulted or in an accident. It involves upsetting memories, flashbacks, nightmares, and difficulties sleeping.
Anxiety disorders can be caused by genetic influence, poor physical health, stress or a thinking style that involves anticipating the worst and negative self-talk. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has been found to be an effective way to alter unhelpful thoughts and behaviours that can contribute to anxiety.