Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety Attacks: How it Works and What to Expect

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety Attacks: How it Works and What to Expect

Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT can help you in terms of making sense of overwhelming problems by dividing them down into smaller, more manageable parts. CBT can be very helpful in terms of anxiety treatment. 

Problems are divided into five parts in CBT:

  • Situations
  • Thoughts
  • Emotions
  • Physical feelings
  • Actions

The foundation of CBT is the idea that these 5 areas are interrelated and have an impact on one another. For instance, how you feel physically and emotionally, as well as how you act in response, can frequently be influenced by how you think about a certain scenario.

How CBT is different

The following are some ways that CBT differs from many other psychotherapies:

  • Pragmatic: It assists in identifying specific issues and works to address them.
  • Highly structured: Rather than openly discussing your life, you and your therapist talk about specific issues and establish objectives for you to meet.
  • Focused on current problems: Instead of focusing on resolving difficulties from the past, it is primarily concerned with how you think and behave right now.
  • Collaborative: Your therapist won’t tell you what to do; instead, they’ll collaborate with you to find solutions to your existing problems.

Stopping negative thought cycles

There are constructive and destructive ways to respond to a situation, and how you think about them is frequently a determining factor.

For instance, you can feel like a failure if your marriage ended in divorce and that you can’t have another meaningful relationship.

Your feelings of helplessness, loneliness, depression, and exhaustion may result from this, and you may stop going out and making new friends. You get caught in a vicious loop, sitting by yourself at home and feeling self-conscious.

Instead of adopting this mindset, you might acknowledge that many marriages fail, take responsibility for your actions moving forward, and be upbeat about the future.

Because of your optimism, you might start taking evening classes, become more socially engaged, and make new acquaintances.

This is a simplistic illustration, but it shows how certain attitudes, emotions, bodily sensations, and behaviors can keep you in a downward spiral and even bring about new circumstances that make you feel worse about yourself.

By analyzing what causes you to feel bad, nervous, or afraid, CBT aims to break negative patterns like these. By assisting you in managing your difficulties, CBT can help you alter your negative thought patterns and enhance your mood.

CBT can assist you in reaching a point where you can do this on your own and solve issues without a therapist’s assistance.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is one type of CBT that is specifically helpful for those with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or phobias.

In these circumstances, discussing the topic is less beneficial than learning to face your concerns methodically and systematically through exposure treatment.

Beginning with things and situations that make you feel anxious but that you can handle is how exposure therapy works.

The amount of duration and frequency of exposure to a situation or object will be decided by your therapist.

After the first few sessions, you’ll find that your anxiety doesn’t peak as high or last as long.

Then you’ll be prepared to go on to something more challenging. You should keep going through this procedure until you have dealt with all the things and circumstances you desire to master.

Spending 6 to 15 hours with the therapist is possible, but self-help materials or computer programs can also be used to carry out exposure therapy. To solve your problems, you must consistently perform the activities as instructed.

CBT sessions

CBT can be practiced in groups with people going through a similar experience as you or one-on-one with a therapist.

Individual CBT typically involves six to twenty weekly or biweekly sessions with a CBT therapist, with each session lasting between thirty and sixty minutes.

Sessions for exposure treatment typically take longer since they include time for you to be exposed to the thing or circumstance that is making you anxious.

CBT therapy may take place:

  • In a clinic
  • Outside: if you have any specific fears there
  • In your own home: Especially if you suffer from agoraphobia or OCD that involves a particular fear of objects in your house

Any healthcare provider with specialized training in CBT, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, mental health nurse, or general practitioner, can serve as your CBT therapist.

To help clients understand the mental and emotional obstacles brought on by their early experiences and/or previous events, The Client Journey PLLC was founded. We serve clients around the state of North Carolina and assist them in determining the contribution that their upbringing has made to their overall development in order to help them move past their past and build a workable action plan for the future. You can schedule a consultation with us to learn more!

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.