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Monday, September 12, 2005

Better Access to CBT?

I think I've previously ranted about my belief that good quality Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) should be easily accessible to anyone who needs it. I got lucky - by dint of living in South London, I got treated at a specialist clinic. Had I been living in South Yorkshire, Southampton, or Southsea, I might not have been so lucky.

Well, we all know that policy makers read every single word of McReadie Nuggets, and having read my rant, they've obviously decided it's time to heed my wise words, and spring into action. Thus I was pleased to read in this morning's new look Guardian (surprisingly alright, although I could have done without the fifteen different mentions within fifteen different articles of their new style - I get it, I bought and am reading the goddamn new style paper) that plans are being considered for the creation of 250 psychological treatment centres to provide therapy for anxiety and depression.

From my vantage point as simply someone who has been treated for anxiety with CBT, this sounds to me like a good plan - assuming it's done properly. I know there are obstacles here - having enough mental healthcare professionals to staff the centres, for a start - but it seems to me that CBT for all who need it is a goal well worth achieving.

I've had five stretches of therapy in my life. The first was when I was ten, and really beginning to suffer with anxiety. Seems to me that if I'd had the right therapy then, I would have saved the health service a hell of a lot of time and money. Let's hope that one day, in the not too distant future, kids with anxiety disorders at age ten will get the help they need to ensure they're not still suffering from the same problems at age twenty. It's worth the effort.

2 Comments:

  • At 1:33 AM, Anonymous Jo said…

    Hiya,

    I got tagged so I thought I'd try passing it on to you, but I understand completely if you don't wish to do it. ;)

    Take Care,

    Jo

     
  • At 12:16 AM, Anonymous Jo said…

    Hi McReadie,

    I just wanted to apologise for taking so long to reply to the message you left me last week after my 1st CBT appointment. Sorry about that! :(

    And thank you so much for both that comment, and the one you left yesterday. It may sound silly, but I really appreciate everything you tell me about your own experiences - not because I enjoy knowing what you've been though - anxiety disorders are horrible! - but because I know you can completely understand what I'm going through, and having been there yourself and come out the other side much better, you give me hope that I too can find the light at the end of the tunnel.

    In the first comment you left, you asked if my therapists had a history of anxiety disorders themselves. The first, [the CBT guy], has - his older sister was anorexic and was helped by CBT in the late 80's when it became more recognised as a potential treatment. The second, [the CAT guy], experienced panic attacks himself when he was a student. He was studying psychology anyway, and wanted to be a profiler for the police, but when the panic attacks began he changed direction and decided he wanted to help others who found themselves in similar situations. I think having that kind of background has made them better therapists - I believe if someone can relate to what you're going through, they're in a better position to be able to offer practical and well-founded advice, and they're able to empathise with you when you're having a tough time of things. It was the CAT guy who have me the mobile number so I could call him if I needed to, so perhaps having experienced panic attacks himself he could sympathise with me - who knows! :)

    I haven't really explained this properly in my entries, but basically the sessions I'm having are CBT and CAT combined, so we will be analysing ourselves a lot more and trying to identify exactly where some of the negative thoughts come from. Through previous therapy sessions with Rach, [my regular therapist], I've been able to figure out that some of my panic attacks can be related to things which happened in my early childhood, but then there are also times when I have absolutely no idea where they come from. I can be quite happily doing something I enjoy, and wham!, my heart starts racing, I start shaking, I can't think straight, I get sweaty palms, and that lump forms in my throat which makes it hard to breathe, and I have no idea why - I'm not consiously aware that I'm having negative thoughts, although I realise now that there has to be a trigger there somewhere. I'm just still a little bit stumped as to what all my triggers are. But I believe the CAT guy is going to be going through this with me in more depth over the coming weeks. I'm curious to know what these triggers are now. ;)

    Also, the group that I'm taking part in is focusing on Depression/Anxiety rather than OCD, but they've told me that if I have trouble applying some of the techniques I'm learning at the moment to the OCD, I can be put forward for another group therapy course in the New Year, which solely concentrates on that illness, rather than Anxiety/Depression in general. [I hope that made sense???] I'm one of the classic 'hand washers', but I know this is because I have an irrational fear of germs. With all my health problems, and with the M.E/CFS weakening my immune system, I get sick so often that I reckon that's where my own OCD has stemmed from. But as its not been treated I've noticed over the last 18 months it's kind of progressed - for example I don't like to be touched any more - so perhaps they're right in suggesting I try to tackle each thing separately???

    I really appreciate you telling me a little more about why you were referred for CBT. In fact one of the people in my group has spoken of similar fears as the ones you described to me, so I can kind of understand where you're coming from - or at least as much as someone who hasn't been in your shoes can, I guess.

    Anyway, sorry this has grown to be such a long message. I just wanted to say thank you really. You're an inspiration to me, and I hope that in time I'll be able to share what I've learned to help others, in the same way you're helping me.

    Take Care,

    Jo

     

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