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This technique is a way of “gathering data” about our moods and our thoughts. This journal can include the time of the mood or thought, the source of it, the extent or intensity, and how we responded to it, among other factors. This technique can help us to identify our thought patterns and emotional tendencies, describe them, and find out how to change, adapt, or cope with them.
Journaling focuses the mind on the anxiety and not on recovery - It is impossible to create non-anxious neural pathways when journaling constantly focuses the patient on their symptoms and thoughts. Journaling is a way of reinforcing anxiety not removing it. Even if distorted thoughts are identified, thoughts do not control emotional response. Journaling is counter-productive and nonsensical device.
2. Unraveling Cognitive Distortions
This is a main goal of CBT, and can be practiced with or without the help of a therapist. In order to unravel the cognitive distortions you hold, you must first become aware of which distortions you are most vulnerable to. Part of this involves identifying and challenging our harmful automatic thoughts, which frequently fall into one of the categories listed earlier.
Cognitive distortions are 'faulty thoughts'. A sufferer's thoughts aren't faulty. Anxiety is a systemic condition of the core emotion. Regardless of what a sufferer 'thinks', they will feel anxious. Thinking, similarly, will not remove access fat or change hormone levels. Identifying and focusing on faulty thoughts increases anxiety and prevents recovery. The anxiety causes the faulty thoughts, not the other way around.
3. Cognitive Restructuring
Once you identify the distortions or inaccurate views on the world you hold, you can begin to learn about how this distortion took root and why you came to believe it. When you discover a belief that is destructive or harmful, you can begin to challenge it. For example, if you believe that you must have a high paying job to be a respectable person, but you lose your high paying job, you will begin to feel bad about yourself. Instead of accepting this faulty belief that leads you to think unreasonably negative thoughts about yourself, you could take this opportunity to think about what makes a person “respectable,” a belief you may not have explicitly considered before.
This entire section is flawed. People aren't 'anxious' because they believe cognitive distortions, they are anxious because their fear responses are 'misfiring'. This has NOTHING to do with confidence or self-belief, cognitive distortions or any other superficial belief. It is entirely to do with a deep neurological response within the autonomic part of the brain. Changing your 'beliefs' will not change systemic responses. This is absolute neurological nonsense.
4. Exposure and Response Prevention
This technique is specifically effective for those who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). You can practice this technique by exposing yourself to whatever it is that normally elicits a compulsive behavior, but doing your best to refrain from the behavior and writing about it. You can combine journaling with this technique, or use journaling to understand how this technique makes you feel.
We have already stated why journaling fails. Exposure is possibly the most damaging of all these techniques. You cannot reset emotional responses and correct anxiety disorders through exposure; the brain does not work in this way. Any 'reassurance' gained during exposure is quickly reverted back to inappropriate fear responses. Exposure MAY be effective in the treatment of specific phobias, however, these phobias ONLY exist in the absence of an anxiety disorder (spiders, heights etc.) The practice of this technique confirms to the brain that - Catalyst = Anxiety - It CANNOT cure OCD or any other symptom of anxiety.
5. Interoceptive Exposure
This technique is intended to treat panic and anxiety. It involves exposure to feared bodily sensations in order to elicit the response, activate any unhelpful beliefs associated with the sensations, maintain the sensations without distraction or avoidance, and allow new learning about the sensations to take place. It is intended to help the sufferer see that symptoms of panic are not dangerous, although they may be uncomfortable.
This is both cruel and ridiculous in equal measures. This cannot cure anxiety and panic. We have heard of CBT practitioners terrifying clients or making them run on a treadmill, putting their hands in buckets of horse muck and other highly inappropriate catalysts in order to cause a panic attack. This is an idiotic, ignorant and dangerous technique that can only result in heightened anxiety. This technique reinforces the anxious neurology and prevents recovery.
6. Nightmare Exposure and Rescripting
Nightmare exposure and rescripting is intended specifically for those suffering from nightmares. This technique is similar to interoceptive exposure, in that the nightmare is elicited, which brings up the relevant emotion. Once the emotion has arisen, the client and therapist work together to identify the desired emotion and develop a new image to accompany the desired emotion.
This technique is neurological nonsense. It is IMPOSSIBLE to manipulate subconscious neurology in order to change a person's response to a nightmare or dream whilst unconscious. The brain doesn't work this way.
7. Play the Script Until the End
This technique is especially useful for those suffering from fear and anxiety. In this technique, the individual who is vulnerable to crippling fear or anxiety conducts a sort of thought experiment, where they imagine the outcome of the worst case scenario. Letting this scenario play out can help the individual to recognize that even if everything they fear comes to pass, it will likely turn out okay.
This is ludicrous. Anxiety cannot be cured by practising anxious scenarios or attempting to deactivate anxiety by reasoning with it. That's akin to reasoning with your digestion, respiration or endocrine system. Absolute neurological nonsense. This can ONLY lead to heightened anxiety and perpetuation of the disorders.
8. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
This is a familiar technique to those who practice mindfulness. Similar to the body scan, this technique instructs you to relax one muscle group at a time until your whole body is in a state of relaxation. You can use audio guidance, a YouTube video, or simply your own mind to practice this technique, and it can be especially helpful for calming nerves and soothing a buy and unfocused mind.
VERY SIMPLE - Despite how anxiety makes you feel... a sufferer should NEVER attempt to use PMR to recover - anxiety disorder sufferers do not need relaxation - relaxation will lead to dramatically increased focus on the thoughts and symptoms that fuel and perpetuate anxiety.
9. Relaxed Breathing
This is another technique that is not specific to CBT, but will be familiar to practitioners of mindfulness. There are many ways to relax and bring regularity to your breath, including guided and unguided imagery, audio recordings, YouTube videos, and scripts. Bringing regularity and calm to your breath will allow you to approach your problems from a place of balance, facilitating more effective and rational decision making (Megan, 2016).
Mindfullness has been the largest problem in anxiety recovery for decades. Its increased visibility and use has destroyed recoveries and prevented sufferers from finding a true solution to their disorders. If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, calming your breathing is difficult, if not impossible, but can also be traumatic... at very least it's counter-productive. Changing your breathing will not cure or reduce an anxiety disorder. Breathing is not connected to the disorder in any way. Anxiety CAUSES disrupted breathing but it is not caused by it.