What is CBT ? I think we have to look at it historically, because the cognitive principles are derived from the work of our earlier philosophers such as Socrates and Epitites. Epitites said that 'it is not the things of this world that hurt us, but what we think about them.' Chris Edwards
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a series of strategies specifically targeted to an individual's anxiety disorder. These can include cognitive therapy, relaxation, breathing techniques and introceptive exposure.
The following is an interview conducted by Jasmine Arthur Jones with Chris Edwards. Chris is Senior Clinical Psychologist for the South Australian Mental Health Services. Chris specialises in Anxiety Disorders and also runs an Anxiety Disorders and Trauma Clinic. He is also a former Chairman of the Anxiety Disorder Foundation of Australia. He has undertaken research into various aspects of anxiety disorders and ran a Federal Government funded General Practitioner (doctor) training program into the diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders.
Jasmine : Do you think that a person with an Anxiety Disorder can recover?
Chris : Treatment outcome studies are showing that recovery is possible. The Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) studies using the Oxford model, suggest that overall, between 84% and 94% of people taking part in those studies are panic free at the end of treatment and they generally maintain that over the follow up periods.
Jasmine : How long was the last follow up period.
Chris : Varying, I am giving results over a range of studies, there is one and two year follow ups.
Jasmine: That's really good, isn't it.
Chris : That's very good. Now, of course, not everybody is going to be able to go and get a little bit of CBT and get results that quickly, because as we know, panic disorders are caused by a number of different causes and those causes will generally predict the speed with which a person recovers.
Jasmine : Can you give us a simple explanation of what CBT is and how that would work for someone with anxiety disorder?
Chris : Lets start off with what CBT is and I think we have to look at it historically because the cognitive principles are derived from the work of our earlier philosophers such as Socrates and Epitites. Epitites said that it is not the things of this world that hurt us, but what we think about them. So it taught us that within regard to a whole range of emotional disorders that our thoughts are very important. And that is regardless of the cause of the disorder, but once you have a disorder your thoughts about the disorder is very important.
In particular, with panic disorder the thoughts are very important. I think if you look at what panic disorder is in terms of cognitive theory, a panic disorder is generally seen as misinterpretation of bodily sensations, that is a catastrophic misinterpretation of bodily sensations. Now, once a person learns to misinterpret these sensations, a pattern tends to be fairly enduring. So the cognitive theory helps a person to assess the evidence which supports or does not support their beliefs about what is happening to them.