CBT: How It Helped Me and How It Could Help You

Disclaimer: What works for me may not work for you because everyone is different. This is just my personal experience and how I think it could help others who are seeking it. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or better known as CBT changed my life and was the best thing I could have ever done for myself. The American Psychological Association defines CBT as: "a form of psychotherapy that integrates theories of cognition and learning with treatment techniques derived from cognitive therapy and behavior therapy." In a nutshell, it helps you face your anxieties head-on while also learning about more helpful ways to think. It's main goal is to help you analyze and understand your internal thoughts and feelings and how you can change your behaviors to more effectively help you. 

CBT is different because it helps one work through their anxiety instead of just talking about one’s problems without any solutions. I remember that my therapist gave me weekly homework that made me assess my worries and what I was anxious about and gave me packets to read so that I could learn about why my anxious mind does what it does. This extra work keeps you accountable for your progress and teaches you about the importance of mental health and how it is so normal to need help. 

Emerald Psychiatry

My experience with CBT was exactly what I needed for what I was going through at that moment in time. I went through a really difficult time mentally this year that made me so miserable in my head. I knew I couldn’t handle it on my own, and that is so incredibly normal! I felt even more miserable because I had gone through therapy before (not CBT), and I was wondering why I couldn’t handle my anxiety by myself. 

Throughout the beginning of the process, I was wary if it was actually worth all of the work and time I put into it because I didn’t see results for about a month. I am so incredibly grateful that I stuck it out and just kept working through it because, after that initial month, I started to see changes in the way that I was thinking about certain anxieties that I had. I also started to feel much more confident in my ability to control my feelings about my anxieties. After I started feeling more happy with my progress, I got excited to go to therapy because I knew that what I was doing was truly beneficial to me and my mental health. 

I finished CBT in May of this year, and I went into summer with the least anxiety I have ever felt in my entire life. I was happy again and I used the skills I learned in therapy and applied them to the real world. I was so incredibly proud of myself and felt normal again. Six months later, I have moved across the country and made some serious life changes. And yes, I do still get anxious at times, but whenever I get anxious, I remember the invaluable lessons that I learned in therapy and I feel a little calmer. 

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If you are interested in starting CBT, I would say that you must fully commit to get the best results. There is a lot of self-discovery that occurs during these therapy sessions and it can sometimes feel like it is all too much, but you must keep on going because that is how you see and feel results. I’m not going to pretend and make it seem like it is all sunshine and rainbows, because it is not. Sometimes I would leave a session feeling like there was a weight lifted off me, but other times I would leave feeling down and more nervous. This is ok because you are learning and your healing is not linear. There will be ups and downs during the entire process, but to me, it is worth every up and down. I recommend this type of therapy to anyone who feels like they might need it, or to someone who might just want to improve themselves mentally. 

Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health. You are so incredibly strong and can handle anything and everything that life throws at you. Stay happy and healthy, ladies! 

- Ivie​

Source: American Psychological Association