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Anxiety - Behavioral & Cognitive Strategies for Treating Anxiety
On the last track we discussed watching worries come and go. Regarding watching worries come and go, two techniques we discussed were tracking anxiety levels, and journaling and focusing on positive aspects of life.
On this track we will discuss mirror anxiety. This track will focus on body image, discovering the good, and the Cognitve Behavior Therapy technique of thought capturing. As you listen to this track, you might consider playing it for a client you are treating.
Appearance goes way beyond our immutable physical characteristics. Our attractiveness to others is powerfully influenced by our confidence, warmth, character, intelligence, personality, spirit, and style. How a woman feels about herself comes through. The fact that Lori felt so negatively about herself certainly affected how others respond to her. But even more to the point, Lori’s negative, self-deprecating perception of how she looked wasn’t good for her.
Discovering the Good
CBT Technique: Thought Capturing
For example, Jim’s wife was 45 minutes late coming home from work. Jim’s anxiety levels rose, leading him to think anxious thoughts such as ‘maybe she’s had an accident’ or ‘she’s probably having an affair.’ Think of your Jim. How can you influence your client to have different thoughts that don’t cause so much anxiety? Thoughts that don’t cause so much anxiety might be ‘I love spending time alone with the kids’ or ‘traffic must be bad tonight.’
As you know, by capturing thoughts, clients like Jim and Lori can see how those thoughts trigger anxiety and connect to their feelings. If you’re client is not sure what thoughts are triggering anxiety, thought capturing can be a productive method of identifying those triggers.
I stated to Jim, "First, focus on the anxiety trigger. Think about it for awhile. Don’t rush it." Jim focused on his anxiety trigger, which was his wife coming home late, until he felt his anxiety levels rise. I then asked Jim some questions about his triggers. For example, I asked "Specifically, what about your wife coming home late do you find upsetting?" Jim responded, "Well, she’s a real big part of my life, so I guess I’m worried about her."
Capturing Leah's Thoughts
Even though earlier, Leah could not explain why tests made her so anxious, answering thought capturing questions brought her hidden thoughts about the test taking to light. What was Leah’s anxiety trigger? What was the meaning behind that trigger? How could thought capturing work for your client?
On this track we discussed mirror anxiety. This track focused on body image, discovering the good, and the technique of thought capturing.
On the next track we will discuss managing anxiety with humor. We’ll examine how humor helps, using humor to cope with anxiety, the ‘Playing with Language’ technique, and increasing a client’s capacity for humor.
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