Information about non epileptic seizures and Non Epileptic Attack Disorder.

What is CBT?

By on 3 April 2015 in General

CBT stands for cognitive behavioural therapy. It’s a form of talking therapy that helps you to work through your problems by changing the way you think (cognitive) and the way you behave (behavioural). It is currently considered to be the best treatment for people with NEAD.

There is such pressure on mental health services in the NHS right now that you may have to wait a long time to see a therapist. If you are considering seeing someone privately, do check that they are a member of a professional association such as BACP, BPS, Association for counselling and therapy, AICTP etc. Therapy is very personal and it’s important to feel comfortable with your therapist. If you don’t feel the person you are seeing is a good match for you then ask to see someone else.

CBT helps you to work on overwhelming issues by breaking them down into smaller parts: usually, the situation that you are in, the thoughts you are having, the emotions you are feeling, the physical sensations you are experiencing and what actions you can take to improve things.All these five things are interconnected. Having a seizure is the physical manifestation of your brain trying to cope with an overwhelming situation.

At your first session, your therapist will encourage you to talk about yourself and your life. It is important that you are open and truthful. If you don’t feel comfortable talking about something, tell your therapist. Once he or she has a good view of your situation and the problems you are having, your therapist will work out a programme of sessions for you.

In following sessions, you will work together on your thinking and behaviour. Many of us fall into negative thinking patterns without even realising we are doing so. We can think that nobody likes us, we can worry so much about a small problem that we convince ourselves it’s a huge problem, we can jump to conclusions about people and we can ‘label’ ourselves saying things like “I’m stupid” or “I’m boring”. These are just some of the thinking errors that people commonly have.

The way we think affects our behaviour. If we are thinking “I’m stupid”, we won’t speak up in class or at a work meeting. We might be reluctant to go to parties and social gatherings. Gradually, we become more and more withdrawn and isolated. However, if we say to ourselves something like “well, I may not be the sharpest knife in the box but I am keen to learn”, then our behaviour will change to match that. We will ask questions in school or in that business meeting. If we are at a party and somebody starts talking about something we know nothing about, we will listen with interest and ask questions so we can learn more about it.

Every single person on the planet, no matter how rich, successful and famous they are, has that little voice in their head that questions what they are doing and why they are doing it. CBT helps you to understand your thinking patterns and your behaviours and to make the necessary changes so that you can move forward in your life feeling better about yourself.It’s not just a question of thinking happy thoughts. Being told to ‘be positive’ can be one of the most annoying things anyone can say to you! Your therapist will teach you to recognise your feelings, thoughts and behaviours for what they are and help you find healthy ways of dealing with them.

As every one of us is different, the length of time that we need to see a therapist will vary.Your therapist should be helping you to develop the tools you need to help yourself and that takes time. It is important that when you go to your CBT sessions, you do so with an open mind and a willingness to learn. CBT can be a very positive experience if you choose to make the most of it.

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