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Cognitive Behaviour Therapy And NLP For Agoraphobia

Jul 4, 2008
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is effective in helping people to overcome panic disorders. I use CBT at my practice in Edinburgh and have found it very useful in treating agoraphobia, particularly when used in conjunction with Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). This article details some of the ways in which CBT and NLP are used during NLP Edinburgh to help clients achieve freedom from agoraphobia.

1. Cognitive Therapy - At NLP and CBT Edinburgh, people are supported to identify and challenge information processing errors that maintain anxiety. Panic attacks and anxiety are initiated by unhelpful thinking. Thoughts alone do not cause anxiety, but believing negative thoughts does lead to anxiety. During CBT and NLP sessions, clients are supported to question the evidence for and against their interpretations.

2. Behavioural Therapy - This is the doing part of cognitive behaviour therapy and in the case of agoraphobia, the therapist will support you in identifying a hierarchy of goals related to going out. The therapist will be aiming for you to become desensitized to going out activities that you currently fear. The therapist accompanies you into the community where appropriate.

3. Learning cognitive strategies to master panic - clients that come for NLP and CBT Edinburgh are taught techniques to practice during homework tasks. You are supported in becoming effective at using these techniques when you are feeling panicky.

4. Practising - You will get out of therapy what you put in and mastering your panic will involve you carrying out practice in between sessions. Typical practice assignments include keeping a 'Beating Panic' Journal', carrying out practice related to your 'going out and about' goal and creating a routine that involves empowering 'calm' activities. You will also be required to practice any coping techniques taught to you by the therapist, such as using your anchors (see below).

5. NLP Communication Model - Clients are taught NLP clean language techniques. This means learning to think and communicate with your self in a way that supports being safe, confident, and relaxed.

6. NLP Change Techniques - NLP, which is an understanding of how we code experience in our brain, has a range of techniques, which can be used to reduce or eradicate the intensity of remembered experiences. Its possible to take an unpleasant memory, examine how it is coded and then make changes so that it is no longer unpleasant and the emotion can just drain away. If you suffer from unpleasant memories or fears, an NLP therapist can help you deal with this, via submodality work. These treatments are available from my therapy practice, where I use NLP Edinburgh. You can also learn to be aware of the impact of how you code experience yourself.

7. Anchoring For Emotional Balance - Anchors are naturally occurring associations between an external stimulus and a behavioural or emotional response. They occur because the human mind constantly seeks to make sense of the environment by looking for patterns and associations between things. People learn to make negative associations between things. In the case of agoraphobia this may be associating going for a walk to the corner shop with fear and panic. NLP deliberately makes use of anchors in order to empower people to have control over their emotional states. There are specific NLP techniques in which a stimulus is used to trigger and link an emotional state. The stimulus is usually external and may be a sound or touch. Through these techniques it is possible to for an individual to build up a resource of positive emotional states, which they can access in any situation in which they need them. It is also possible to completely collapse negative anchors so that external stimuli that cause you negative emotional states will no longer be a problem.

These are just some of the ways that NLP and CBT Edinburgh can be effective at empowering people to overcome agoraphobia and other panic disorders.
About the Author
Karen Hastings is a mental-health Occupational Therapist and Master NLP practitioner. She has worked in the NHS with people experiencing mental-health issues. Karen practices privately in Edinburgh. Please visit http://www.karenhastings.co.uk
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