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    pam's Avatar needs more cowbell
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    CBT--how's it helped you?

    I am interested in knowing where CBT techniques successfully worked with you. It could be with a CBT therapist, or on your own with books and workbooks, etc. I've seen a lot of people say it works with them, but they never give any specific examples of how or what, sooooooo....

    If you can, would you

    1. List one or two thoughts/beliefs that you were able to change (as a result of challenging beliefs). and
    2. What behaviors are you able to now do that you couldn't do before (as a result of desensitization thru exposures).

    I think the answers could help other people see what kinds of things one can change and maybe give other people ideas of what to do. I personally don't have a lot of faith in it, and instead am helped by other techniques, so it will be really nice for me to see people really are helped with CBT.

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    Coffee's Avatar
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    1) I used to think people would remember all of the mistakes I make and they would laugh at me forever, and that I'm not allowed to make mistakes. If I make a mistake, I'm a complete failure at everything. Now I know that people really don't care that much if I screw up. They'll forget about me pretty soon. I don't remember embarrassing things other people have done so why should that be different for others? And it's ok to make mistakes as long as I learn from them, because everyone makes mistakes.

    I also used to think EVERYTHING was my fault, but through rational thinking I can take an appropriate amount of blame and then leave the rest. It's still tricky but its much better than it was before.

    2) I can make phone calls now but it is still difficult, and I can hold conversations with people in authority without wanting to die. There were other things that I could do but I stopped CBT when my life went a little crazy and then I slipped back into my old comfortable habits, so I don't count those anymore. I know I can do it, but I'm not at the point where I can do it regularly.

    I know that isn't much but it's good enough for me at the moment. I know I'll do better when I try harder.

    Oh, I should also mention that I was in regular therapy for a LONG time before CBT so a lot of the deeper changes occurred before this. I don't doubt that someone can get the same results from just CBT, but it takes time.

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    pam's Avatar needs more cowbell
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    Quote Coffee View Post
    1) I used to think people would remember all of the mistakes I make and they would laugh at me forever, and that I'm not allowed to make mistakes. If I make a mistake, I'm a complete failure at everything. Now I know that people really don't care that much if I screw up. They'll forget about me pretty soon. I don't remember embarrassing things other people have done so why should that be different for others? And it's ok to make mistakes as long as I learn from them, because everyone makes mistakes.

    I also used to think EVERYTHING was my fault, but through rational thinking I can take an appropriate amount of blame and then leave the rest. It's still tricky but its much better than it was before.

    2) I can make phone calls now but it is still difficult, and I can hold conversations with people in authority without wanting to die. There were other things that I could do but I stopped CBT when my life went a little crazy and then I slipped back into my old comfortable habits, so I don't count those anymore. I know I can do it, but I'm not at the point where I can do it regularly.

    I know that isn't much but it's good enough for me at the moment. I know I'll do better when I try harder.

    Oh, I should also mention that I was in regular therapy for a LONG time before CBT so a lot of the deeper changes occurred before this. I don't doubt that someone can get the same results from just CBT, but it takes time.
    I had the same problem with mistakes, but somehow I decided that it's ok to make mistakes, mainly because i saw everyone else making them, and they weren't beheaded for it, so why shouldn't I be allowed to make them too? I tested it by making little mistakes on purpose to see what happened, and I found out that the sky didn't fall. And that like you said, no one really cares. At least not as much as we imagine. So a couple things I remind myself of are--"It's not only ok to make mistakes, you're supposed to," and, "Other people aren't paying nearly as much attention to me as I think they are."

    I still have a problem with authority as far as getting their approval, like in a job interview, then I have complete panic.

    Thanks for sharing. I only got one response on the other site about this--they said "it hasn't." Lol.

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    whiteman's Avatar
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    I think you have to be a believer in CBT for it to work for you. I read some books on shyness before it was even known as Social Anxiety and the books helped me to graduate from university when I dropped out once before because of SA.

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    pam's Avatar needs more cowbell
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    Quote whiteman View Post
    I think you have to be a believer in CBT for it to work for you. I read some books on shyness before it was even known as Social Anxiety and the books helped me to graduate from university when I dropped out once before because of SA.
    Hey, I went back to college later in life too, and only after i read some books about self-esteem. But I am still working on my multiple psychological problems.

    So I can't tell from what you wrote if you are a "believer" in CBT. I don't like that wording because it sets it up so that if it happens to not be the right therapy for the person or their problem, then it must be the patient's fault because they didn't believe in it enough? I don't know if you mean it that way or not. I do know that if a person doesn't even do the homeworks--written or behavioral--then that would be the patient's fault. But what if they really tried and it still failed? You're not the only person to say something like that--another person kind of blamed themselves for it not working because of their negative attitude. I just don't see it that way.

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    whiteman's Avatar
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    There was a study done where people were asked what they thought of CBT, probably before they started CBT...Anyways the study found that people who had a good outcome had a good opinion of CBT to beging with. They did similar studies with psychotropics and they found the same results

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    Coffee's Avatar
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    I think it's more about going in with zero reservations. If you're skeptical about something, it's going to take more time and effort to get your guard down, you know? When I went into CBT I was pretty resistent, but my therapist managed to call me out on so much of my BS and forced me to do things I didn't want to do and as soon as I just gave in and went with it, I saw little improvements and the thought that I was improving drove me to do more stuff.

    I forgot another thing. I was in normal therapy consistently for 2 and a half years ( like three times a week) and when my therapist left I had no idea wtf to do. I have BPD so I was triggered all over the place but my new therapist made me take a break from therapy before I came back to her. It was like 3 months or something and that was totally new to me and i HATED IT. I did it anyway. I was a mess but I powered through. And i realised I was ok without a therapist. The last time I saw her was like 6 months ago. I see my psych once a month. So that's progress and I don't think I would have been able to do that without CBT.

    I don;t think it's anyones 'fault' if CBT doesn't work. I just think you have to be ready for it to make a big difference.

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    pam's Avatar needs more cowbell
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    Quote whiteman View Post
    There was a study done where people were asked what they thought of CBT, probably before they started CBT...Anyways the study found that people who had a good outcome had a good opinion of CBT to beging with. They did similar studies with psychotropics and they found the same results
    Oh, I see what you mean. Yes in general positive expectations can make things run more smoothly. That would apply to everything in life tho wouldn't it? And that doesn't mean CBT is nessecarily better than other treatments. But even with drugs--if they are so scientifically successful, then they should override me having doubts. Other drugs (anti-biotics, diabetic meds) affect people a certain way no matter what their attitude is. I have had the impression from professionals that they have that much faith in CBT like it's scientifically proven. I just think anything involving the mind can never be so cut and dry....plus I've been blamed for things not working myself, and I try like hell, so it really wasn't my fault. I'm probably overly sensitive about it. And I have deeper problems than CBT can handle. But I have used the techniques a little bit for very minor things.

  9. #9
    pam's Avatar needs more cowbell
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    Quote Coffee View Post
    I think it's more about going in with zero reservations. If you're skeptical about something, it's going to take more time and effort to get your guard down, you know? When I went into CBT I was pretty resistent, but my therapist managed to call me out on so much of my BS and forced me to do things I didn't want to do and as soon as I just gave in and went with it, I saw little improvements and the thought that I was improving drove me to do more stuff.

    I forgot another thing. I was in normal therapy consistently for 2 and a half years ( like three times a week) and when my therapist left I had no idea wtf to do. I have BPD so I was triggered all over the place but my new therapist made me take a break from therapy before I came back to her. It was like 3 months or something and that was totally new to me and i HATED IT. I did it anyway. I was a mess but I powered through. And i realised I was ok without a therapist. The last time I saw her was like 6 months ago. I see my psych once a month. So that's progress and I don't think I would have been able to do that without CBT.

    I don;t think it's anyones 'fault' if CBT doesn't work. I just think you have to be ready for it to make a big difference.
    I have made progress with other things. Inner child work, integrating, expression of anger (and other emotions, but especially anger) rather than "controlling" your emotions, complicated grief work, etc. And especially my experiences with healthy relationships. When those are lacking or the only ones in your life are abusive, you're kind of up a creek (unless you have a healthy sense of self, which I did/do not).

    I also have BPD (maybe just some of the traits now), and can relate to feeling dependent in a way on them (even when it wasn't going well, and most of the time it wasn't). The 2 women counselors I saw wanted to see me 2x week, but not the males. I could never say I don't want to come 2x, I always went along with it. So when switching to once a week, I was worried that it would be too long, but it wasn't!!! It actually worked out better--7 days is enough time to absorb what happened in the session, and let it have it's effect. If there was one I mean. I didn't/don't get much out of therapy. I guess the people I see mainly just sit there and listen, but i actually don't need that. I have my boyfriend to talk to.

    The first woman I saw back in 2006-9 would always want me to do things that there was NO WAY I could do, and it caused me a lot of problems at the time--guilt, self-blame, etc. But the thing is, I have since improved and could probably do those things NOW! She must not have been able to see how bad off i really was back then, or thought I was faking (I regressed/switched to a crying 5 yo ALL the time). So the timing was only a few yrs off, lol.

    Right now I'm on a surprise break from my counselor. I usually go once a week, but last time he didn't have anything for 6 weeks. Maybe trying to get rid of me, IDK. Anyway, I feel like I don't need him at all anymore. Not because he helped me so much, but because when I'm away from them I seem to do better in my progress. But it's hard to be motivated all alone.

    Sorry, I am in a bad mood today and probably don't make sense.

    I am more independent minded than I used to be. I definitely have used some exposures and behavioral tests (like making mistakes on purpose and seeing what happens). I guess it's the Cognitive part that i don't like/can't use.

  10. #10
    JaneDoe's Avatar My So-Called Self
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    I have never had any success with CBT because most of my feelings do not begin with thoughts, they are just feelings that come out of nowhere in certain situations. Agoraphobia is the only thing for me that I feel it is possible for CBT to help because my agoraphobia is highly mixed in with thoughts. But as I have never had a therapist go in depth with me in regards to CBT, I don't know for sure if it would work for me. I guess I just have a negative view of it from the little I have tried of it in the past because it didn't address my problems at all.

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    Coffee's Avatar
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    The cognitive part is rational thinking which I'm sure you can get the hang of once you start and find your stride. I struggled with the behavioural part. It sounds like you have good self control and can set your own goals but I can understand how it would be difficult to stay motivated without a 'guide'. There is this DBT book which is mostly for BPD but there is a lot of CBT in there too, http://www.amazon.com/Dialectical-Be.../dp/1572245131
    I worked through a fair amount and it was really helpful, until my psych told me that I was doing too much cognitive and not enough behavioural, haha. So it might be useful for you. This way you still have a guide, but you can work at your own pace and set your own goals. And we're all here for you to keep you motivated, and you know you have your therapist if you need a safety net. Sorry you had a bad day, hope you feel better soon.

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    pam's Avatar needs more cowbell
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    Quote JaneDoe View Post
    I have never had any success with CBT because most of my feelings do not begin with thoughts, they are just feelings that come out of nowhere in certain situations. Agoraphobia is the only thing for me that I feel it is possible for CBT to help because my agoraphobia is highly mixed in with thoughts. But as I have never had a therapist go in depth with me in regards to CBT, I don't know for sure if it would work for me. I guess I just have a negative view of it from the little I have tried of it in the past because it didn't address my problems at all.
    I also have the experience of my feelings not being caused by, or even affected by, what I think. I can think whatever I want--doesn't change how I feel. They are 2 very separate things. Also with having dissociated parts, maybe it's harder because I have completely different feelings and completely different thoughts within my self about the same situation. And CBT doesn't really work on my 5 yr old's feelings. But the adult me will go right along with it and come up with great logical arguments....it just doesn't affect the younger parts of me that actually need the healing.

    That's why the other things I mentioned like inner child work are the only things that have really had a strong impact on me. Not just strong, but permanent too. It seems like with CBT, the changes only stay if you keep it up, keep doing the exercises. But I would think that once a person learns a new healthier way of thinking/feeling and it's real and genuine, why would there be a complete relapse? It should be steady progress, I would think--changing one thought or belief at a time, each time relieving the anxiety or depression or whatever it is. I understand slip-ups, but in general shouldn't it be progressing? I see it as climbing up a flight of stairs. I go up one step at a time and sometimes I might sit on one and not move for a while, or go back one step, but I've never fallen all the way back to the bottom and "lost" all my gains. I know one guy that it seems like that's what happened with him with CBT. And he was very motivated--so to anyone out there don't try to tell me he "didn't try hard enough" or something!

  13. #13
    pam's Avatar needs more cowbell
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    Quote Coffee View Post
    The cognitive part is rational thinking which I'm sure you can get the hang of once you start and find your stride. I struggled with the behavioural part. It sounds like you have good self control and can set your own goals but I can understand how it would be difficult to stay motivated without a 'guide'. There is this DBT book which is mostly for BPD but there is a lot of CBT in there too, http://www.amazon.com/Dialectical-Be.../dp/1572245131
    I worked through a fair amount and it was really helpful, until my psych told me that I was doing too much cognitive and not enough behavioural, haha. So it might be useful for you. This way you still have a guide, but you can work at your own pace and set your own goals. And we're all here for you to keep you motivated, and you know you have your therapist if you need a safety net. Sorry you had a bad day, hope you feel better soon.
    Yeah I bought that book a few years ago and it didn't really help me that much. I'm sure that part of my problem is that I have dissociated parts that are too young for the cognitive part. I am actually very good at rational thinking, writing arguments to prove the opposite of what I feel, etc. But that's some older unemotional part of me that can do that. And that's who shows up to do that kind of thing. Meanwhile the parts that need healing aren't being reached by the logical reasoning. The younger parts don't understand that because they aren't old enough, so they need different methods.

    And I guess my other problem is I want to be a counselor, but I also want to have a good experience of one helping me. Otherwise i would just go off an my own and do it myself.....but I'm looking for an experience of actually being "helped on the couch" before i switch seats and become the helper.....I would really prefer to know firsthand that it's not a scam. In theory, I don't believe it is, but in reality, I'm not sure.

  14. #14
    kc1895's Avatar KFC Hipster
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    CBT used on my Fear of Public Speaking
    Automatic Thought-
    Everybody will see that I'm inept at speaking in front of people. I will not be able to express myself clearly and stumble with words and have a hard time explaining myself.
    Cognitive Distortions:
    I assume that I'm completely unable to speak in front of people or that I will be entirely incapable of doing so.
    I think that negative experiences with previous public speaking will be an ongoing pattern.
    I focus on my anxiety as the way that I will approach the situation and how it will overcome my presentation.
    I reject the fact that I'm capable of articulating and expressing my thoughts well on an interpersonal level. I also discount a positive experience I had at a training section at work where my anxiety did not overpower me.
    I conclude that people are going to see my incompetence when I speak or see that I have problems with speaking, when in fact other people have their own issues to deal with and are there for support.
    I anticipate that my anxiety will take over and that I will freeze not be able to think of what to say in front of the group.
    I view someone else's achievements in public speaking as an inconquerable feat for me, and that I will never be able to reach that level of speaking.
    I anticipate horrible consequences to the outcome of public speaking since my heart is rapidly beating in anticipation that I will have to speak, and that my symptoms will continue to worsen until I have a full blown panic attack.
    Since I feel extreme symptoms of my anxiety- increase heart rate, sweaty palms, shallow breath, lack of oxygen, it reflects the way things appear on the outside- as my thoughts of a disaster is happening.
    I feel that I "must" at some point speak until I have no more fears of public speaking. It makes me feel guilty and cowardly that I have not yet stepped up to the plate.
    I think that I'm a coward because I'm unable to speak in front of a large crowd, although I have made significant steps towards conquering my fears.
    I've let my public speaking fears and SA define who I am.
    I have to accept that it will be very difficult each time before I start speaking.

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    pam's Avatar needs more cowbell
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    Im not sure if this is how everyone else does CBT. I've never had a therapist get into such detail about it, but I have a book called LEARNED OPTIMISM by Martin Seligman. (Some people familiar with the Learned Helplessness in Dogs experiment will know who he is) And in the book he has a 5 step thing you do to improve your thinking. ABCDE.

    KC1895, I thought to look this up again because of your post. You cover a couple of the parts, but the other steps aren't there. So I thought I'd bring it up so everyone can see the complete steps to see if it helps to try to apply them. I actually liked his book and it was fun to read. This method came more toward the end of the book. He also said anyone can learn to do CBT in several weeks. Because it's not hard at all. So...here it is (a summary).

    The A-B-C-D-E Method

    "A" stands for Adversity. The activity or situation. (having to speak in front of others)

    "B" stands for Belief. Here's where your opinion starts to come into it. It's what you think about the above situation. (many of the thoughts you listed above, which you know are distortions, such as thinking the anxiety will take over. B is just the thoughts--not feelings--they are in the next section)

    "C" stands for Consequences. These are the resulting feelings you have based on B, your beliefs. (feeling guilty and cowardly)

    "D" stands for Disputation. Here's where you give an argument to dispute the B & C parts. (Using some of what you wrote already, an example could be "The anxiety will NOT neccesarily take over because I remember times where not only did it not take over, I did pretty well. I HAVE been able to speak in front of others before and I didn't have a panic attack, I communicated well, and people could NOT tell I have something wrong with me because I did fine. I usually don't give myself credit for these successes, but I should! etc.) Examples in the book show this step as being pretty long--you should really make as good of an argument as you can.

    "E" stands for Energization! This includes any positive effect you experienced as a result of doing the above steps. Examples could be: lowered anxiety, feeling more positive about your past experiences, having more optimism/confidence, realizing some of your beliefs are truly not believable anymore. Feeling much better would be the real goal.

    Here's the link to the book on amazon. I have the original hardcover from 1990, but it's exactly the same--I checked.

    http://www.amazon.com/Learned-Optimi...imism+seligman

    And before he gets to this part in the book, he talks a lot about exactly what the differences are between optimistic people and pessimistic people and how they think. Like generalizing positive, but not negative experiences. Seeing negative things as time-limited. Little things like that and how they make a big difference. Also how children learn bad habits and pessimism, and how they can change too.

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