Can CBT Help With Anxiety?

Living with anxiety is extremely challenging, and working with clients to manage this problem is something I do frequently as a CBT therapist in Billericay and online. People often catastrophise, predicting the worst-case scenario, and think in black and white terms, leading to a sense of unease. Perhaps you experience panic attacks, social anxiety, or have a phobia of some kind. A lot of the time, you can have anxiety over nothing in particular - like having a fire alarm go off in your head when there’s no fire.

People who struggle with the above issues are advised to seek out CBT, due to the way this kind of therapy engages directly with one’s anxiety and provides them with tools to manage it more effectively in the future. In this blog post, then, we will look at a couple of reasons why you might consider CBT in Billericay or online for anxiety.

Engage With Your Fear

Anxiety is a fear of the unknown, of what might happen, or what may have happened already, and as such becomes a mental health issue defined by avoidance. We try to make our anxiety go away in any way we can, sometimes even avoiding certain social situations or tasks that we feel could make us uncomfortable. Doing this over and over again only makes the anxiety worse, which is why CBT is so useful, because it encourages us to engage with the fear we hold inside ourselves.

With CBT, we gently walk through the triggers that contribute to your anxiety. We will, in a structured way, analyse the thoughts and behaviours that accompany feelings of anxiety, looking at what comes up, where in the body one feels it, and how you react in kind. Leaning into your fears in this way means they have less power over you, because you now know more about them, which in turn brings down your anxiety. You can then see these thoughts for what they really are when they crop up again.

Evidence-Based Approach

When we are anxious, we tend to be governed by our own worst-case-scenario beliefs, which creates a vicious cycle of catastrophising over things that, almost all of the time, are not based in reality. CBT encourages us to think about situations from multiple angles, and always using actual evidence.

By actively taking the time to understand which thoughts are based in fact, compared with the thoughts grounded in belief, we can spot when cognitive distortions are showing up in our mind. We start to look at ourselves and the wider world from a more objective perspective, and as such start to realise, over time, that the worst-case scenario is hardly ever what actually happens. This is particularly important for anxiety, as it allows us to recalibrate unhelpful thoughts that reinforce anxiety into a more balanced, rational, and ultimately compassionate outlook.

If you are interested in using CBT therapy in Billericay or online for CBT, give me a call to ask any questions or book an initial appointment. 

©2022 Sharon McHugh

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