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Member Post – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as an aid for tackling anxiety.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as an aid for tackling anxiety. – Michael Collins

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy gives you quick, practical and goal-driven skills to help you tackle the acute anxiety that can come with a cancer diagnosis. It won’t make anxiety go away but it can change how you respond to it.

The ‘Cognitive’ part comes from the fact that you’ll learn new ways of thinking that help reduce the anxiety, changing runaway negative thoughts into healthier and more realistic ones. This doesn’t happen overnight – it’s a learned skill that needs practice and application.

As your thinking changes so too do your emotional, behavioural and physical reactions to anxiety. As I went through the course, I learned to look at my own thinking and actively steer my responses to my intrusive worries and fears. It became an aspect of my cancer that I (usually) had a good degree of control over. Add exercise and dietary changes and I felt I wasn’t just a chemical battlefield but an active participant in my treatment and management.

CBT courses (once a week for eight weeks isn’t unusual) are sometimes provided by your healthcare team as they often aim to treat the emotional dimension of cancer as well as the physical. CBT can be useful for caregivers too, they’re not free from anxiety, fear and worry either.

Mind Over Mood by Greenberger and Padesky is a popular instructional workbook that often accompanies a CBT course and a web search for CBT will provide lots of information.

-Michael Collins