Feb 22, 2007

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

I imagine that the first advice I will get will be to try Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) because research proved that it is the most efficient for anxiety in general and social anxiety in particular. All my books on social anxiety are unanimous about this (mind you, I just read three or so).

So I dutifully looked for a CBT specialist. I found someone that teaches CBT at a large New York University... I was sure it's going to be a winner. I was wrong. Five sessions later he declared victory and I declared stupor at the idea that we actually resolved anything other than me buying a sandwich and asking for help in the bookstore. It was a great start that I did those things, but it definitely was only the start. He declared that maybe I have some issues with my conception about life and that maybe another kind of therapy is right for me... I just think another therapist was right for me. I think part of his indifference had to do with the ridiculous amount that my insurance company was reimbursing him, but if that was an issue, wasn't it more fair to say so rather than make me feel bad?

Before that I wanted to help with research. I felt it was my duty to help other understand this condition. I went to get screened at an Anxiety Institute, and they were ready to enroll me in a study. Unfortunately, the only study they were having involved using drugs (Paxil) and therapy vs. drugs alone (anyone guess where the funds for this research comes from?). The researcher doubted that my doctor would agree with that because I was planning a pregnancy. I didn't even try to find out my doctor's opinion - the idea that I would end up with six months of being drugged didn't sound compelling. Oh, yeah, I asked whether I can read self help books during that time LOL - the answer was: what a good question, I think not... I guess their study subjects didn't have this issue before.

I am sure there might be a CBT therapist out there that could help me, I heard of one in Phoenix, and others in St. Louis. It doesn't help that there seem to be a therapist at each street corner and they all can treat it and are busy all the time. Very difficult to find someone : look for the needle in the haystack.

That was my state of mind when I read: Health and Suffering in America - The Context and Content of Mental Health Care - Robert T. Fancher. It presents each therapy method with its advantages and disadvantages. CBT might be the latest trend, but it has issues as well. The book also describes how valuable research in mental health is excluded because it is not studied in a randomized double-blind manner. The conclusion of the book is that the therapist's personality and the way (s)he relates to the patient is more important than the method, and that likely a combination of methods would work better.

I cannot agree more with this. I have been in therapy for about 8 months with a new therapist and I see the light at the end of the tunnel. No, I saw the light months ago, now I see the walls of the tunnel :o) And I wouldn't change my therapist for the world.

If you read testimonials about this or the other method: tapes, self help books, meditation, CBT, etc., there are always people that succeeded with that particular method. I think we succeed when we are ready and ripe to succeed. The rest: "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


It wasnt until this afternoon that I came across your blog but already I have read all its contents. I wish you the best of luck on this journey, you have already come so far! I myself suffer with SAD, and cant picture opening up to millions of strangers. Althought such a thing would most likley do me some good, lol. My intentions arent to force you to do anything but instead to ask you to please continue blogging, you may not realize it but your words are so touching and its wonderful to read how others cope with this dreadful disorder. I hope to see another beautiful post from you soon!