Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Counselors employ cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help individuals overcome negative thoughts and self-destructive attitudes. If the axiom, "You are what you eat" is true, then we are also what we think; and positive thoughts enable the mind, body and psyche to heal emotionally and physically. But developing a habit of negative perceptions and thinking patterns conversely hinders the process of physical and mental healing. Therapists who employ cognitive behavioral therapy not only assist patients struggling with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, compulsive eating disorders, or stress management overcome obstacles to mental health; but also those who suffer from chronic pain. The goal of counselors is to re-program the mind to think and react positively to life's situations and circumstances to facilitate healing.

Negative, compulsive or self-destructive behavior patterns usually develop as a result of environmental or social factors. Perceptions, attitudes, and how we feel and think about things are a result of years of developing coping mechanisms or responses to physical or social stimuli, most of which are deeply rooted in childhood. People are not born with bad habits, but they cultivate certain behaviors in response to factors beyond their control. In an effort to enforce discipline, parents may resort to name calling or faultfinding, which reinforces negative self-perceptions in children. Parents thoughtlessly yell,"You'll never be any good!" And "You are so bad, no one wants you!" The result is that some children grow up thinking so poorly of themselves that negative perceptions become their reality.

On the other hand, individuals that experience repeated disappointment and failures often develop a mindset that it is impossible for them to succeed in life. But the goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to first determine why people think negatively; and then re-train them to forego poor thought patterns through gradual behavior modification. "For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he:" (Proverbs 23:7a). Group or private psychotherapy sessions help counselors discover the root cause of negative thinking to help individuals correct wrong perceptions and reprogram the mind to think more positively and realistically.

Whether the goal is to help people manage stress and depression, control compulsive eating, or cope with pain; the process for cognitive behavioral therapy is similar. Counselors must allow individuals to openly and candidly discuss bad thoughts or behavior and do some soul searching to determine how those patterns developed. People struggling with depression or stress may want to jot down bad thoughts and examine the validity of each one. If patients verbalize self-degrading thoughts such as, "I'll never amount to anything;" counselors will try to engage them in a dialogue which confronts self-accusation and self-denigration to discover commendable attributes, accomplishments, and character and promote exemplary yet realistic self-images. Therapists employ specific techniques to gradually dismantle years of poor self-assessment and rebuild positive patterns of perceptions which can increase an individual's feelings of self-worth.

Patients who endure years of chronic pain may realize a cessation of symptoms by exercising techniques taught through cognitive behavioral therapy. Some that have battled debilitating long term illnesses may develop a dread of medical treatment, a fear of needles, or a disdain for tests which could improve health. Fear, dread, apprehension, and anxiety create stress, which immobilizes patients and causes the body to release harmful chemicals, impediments to physical healing. By retraining patients' minds to think more positively about treatment and the potential to successfully manage pain, more successful outcomes can be realized. The body perceives a lack of fear and feelings of optimism and translates positive emotions into life-sustaining healing. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (II Timothy 1:7). Oncologists frequently employ cognitive behavioral therapy to help cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy tolerate side effects, such as nausea or loss of appetite. Alternative therapies include guided imagery, journaling, meditation, prayer, and moderate physical exercise, combined with medicines to provide a holistic approach to facilitate healing.

Teens and women with compulsive eating disorders find that cognitive behavioral therapy enables them to confront fears and overcome self-defeating habits. Counselors will seek to retrain the minds of those with distorted body images or a fear of becoming fat, so that patients gradually develop a realistic perception of beauty and their own bodies. Young ladies that starve themselves in an effort to emulate runway models or silver screen idols come to accept and love their bodies, as well as develop a healthy attitude about healthy eating. By working with young females and the parents of compulsive eaters, counselors are able to address environmental, medical, and psychological factors which impact illness and distorted imagery. Parents are solicited to provide environments more conducive to nurturing and acceptance; while teens are allowed to share in private or group psychotherapy sessions to uncover false perceptions and gradually replace erroneous beliefs with the infallible truth that they are beautiful creations of God, regardless of dress size.

People who have difficulty dealing with the stress of everyday living can better cope after enrolling in cognitive behavioral therapy programs. Counselors can help individuals retrain their minds to think positively about adversity and put issues in the proper perspective. A negative outlook tends to color every aspect of life with a mottled gray; whereas adopting an upbeat attitude, even when faced with disappointments and failures, can help people overcome obstacles to happiness. CBT program participants are taught how to face problems head on without going into a tailspin and how to reject negative thoughts which can loom large in a persons mind. By envisioning ultimate success rather than imminent failures, individuals can begin the process of expecting to win and not lose in the game of life.

Menopause Help

Women looking for menopause help may be suffering from a variety of symptoms that are not only causing physical discomforts, but also are disrupting the quality of life. The change of life can be a difficult time period for a woman. Not only does she have to deal with extreme physical changes throughout her body, but she must also learn to cope with many new mental and emotional challenges as well. Hormone production can greatly affect emotions, and when the body begins to diminish hormone production, moods can swing and depression can set it. Also, women may find the fact that reproduction is no longer possible, hard to deal with. For years menopause has been the subject of jokes in social circles and the medical profession only skimmed the surface of this event, addressing physical symptoms alone. But, the change of life is dramatic in many ways, and women will want to gather as much menopause information as possible to get the facts, the support, and the treatments needed to get through this time of life.

Most every woman will experience the adverse side effects that are associated with menopause. Not only is the older woman faced with these troubles, but women from a diverse age group have to deal with the trauma of no longer having a body that can reproduce, and also with the changes that are occurring with the emotions and in different areas of the body. There are women in their twenties and thirties who have early menopause, and these women deal with the same, if not more, issues that the woman over fifty addresses when she begins this inevitable journey. Thankfully, the menopause information available today is addressing the many aspects of the change of life and is providing help that can help a woman cope more effectively. The woman who seeks menopause help can find answers to her questions and support for these trying times.

The fist signs associated with the change of life are often called perimenopause, which refers to the slowing down of hormone and egg production. A woman is not actually considered as menopausal until she has gone twelve consecutive months without having a period. But, the perimenopausal period is considered by many to be the most difficult to deal with. Menopause information reported by doctors in the field tells that this time period can last from one to ten years, depending. Periods can become erratic and there may be lighter bleeding or heavier bleeding. Other physical symptoms may include cramping, headaches, leg pain, sleeplessness, and the infamous hot flashes. Mental activities can be affected also, with forgetfulness, a foggy feeling, and confusion being the top reported complaints. And, there are the mood swings. Troubles and challenges that were met with a healthy attitude in years past may now reduce a woman to tears. She may even realize that she is over-reacting to a situation, but there is a sense of having no control over emotions.

Obviously, when a woman is dealing with these issues, there will be challenges for every member of the family. Beyond the need for each woman to get menopause help in addressing her symptoms and challenges, the entire family will benefit when there is adequate support, both physical and mental, rendered. And, the key to getting beneficial aid during this time is in getting menopause information. When equipped with the facts and a plan to systematically address what is going on in the body, the female gender can greatly improve her coping mechanisms and her ability to function normally.

The first place to begin a search for correct and concise menopause information is with a doctor. As more research is being accomplished, doctors are taking a second look at the trauma that a woman feels she is experiencing during the change of life. Reports are indicating that women are beginning to be heard in the doctors office and any empathy extended is going a long way. Women might want to ask friends or family members for referrals, seeking a doctor that has a reputation of being alert to the latest treatments and compassionate for the mental and physical trials the woman is going through. Working with a doctor that is sensitive, compassionate, and knowledgeable could be the difference between managing effectively or spinning out of control.

The Bible can also be a wonderful source of support during this time. Women will find as they seek guidance from professionals and look for information online, that the Bible can provide the spiritual comfort component. There is no trial or challenge that Christ does not understand. He is the Mighty Counselor and His support is more valuable than any prescribed medication. "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort." (2 Corinthians 1:3)

The Internet can be a valuable source in finding more menopause help. There are articles and commentaries listed throughout, as well as practical advise about daily living through the change of life. The Internet may also be a good place to research or look for doctors to consult. Equipping oneself with quality information about everything that is happening in the body will truly make a difference. Seek to discover how to manage the changes, with either natural menopause help or with prescribed medication, equipped with wisdom.





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