How Behavioral Therapy Can Help With Depression and Anxiety

How Behavioral Therapy Can Help With Depression and Anxiety

Life is tough for people with Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, or Depression, but there are some effective strategies to help you cope. I just read about an interesting study which indicated that Behavioral therapy is an effective treatment strategy for patients suffering from depression- with or without medication.
Behavioral therapy includes:

"Treatments (that) can include such techniques as assertiveness training, desensitization, environment modification, and relaxation training."

When combined with Cognitive Therapy, Behavioral Therapy is used to treat a whole gamut of symptoms, including insomnia and anxiety. While the right medication is definitely instrumental in dealing with serious illnesses, the strategies employed in Behavioral Therapy can help.  While I haven’t had the benefit of an experienced Behavioral Cognitive Therapist to help with any of my mental health issues, I definitely believe that the strategies that you can learn are definitely beneficial and have used some of them successfully for myself.

A major part of Behavioral Therapy involves learning new responses to problems. Here is a list of some strategies specifically tailored to help those who are suffering from depression and/or anxiety.

  • Avoid all or nothing phrases- example: I’ll never get a job. A statement like this can be changed into It’s hard to get a job now.
  • Avoid over-generalization. Again, this is similar to an all-or-nothing type of situation. Instead of saying, “Nobody likes me”,  you can be specific and say something like, “I have a disagreement with this person.”
  • Filter out the negative- Find something positive to focus on after a negative experience. This is easier said than done, but will help shape your mood and the mood of the people around you.
  • Accept compliments.
  • Don’t Assume- Remember the old adage- when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.
  • Make lists. When a task feels over-whelming, break it down into smaller pieces.
  • Forgive yourself for your mistakes- find ways to change your behavior for the next time
  • Don’t try and blame yourself for things that you have no control over.

A Behavioral Therapy approach to anxiety would include immersing yourself in difficult situations, so that you can eventually face daunting situations without fear.  For example, if you experience social anxiety at a party or get-together, you will notice that the more times you face the situation, the better you will feel. Sometimes those with anxiety are working at a disadvantage that other people don’t have, so again, it is important not to judge yourself too harshly.