Originally published December 9 2008
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia
by Sheryl Walters
(NaturalNews) Research has shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) may improve life quality and symptom management for people with Chronic Fatigue (CFS) and Fibromyalgia (FM). Whilst it is not a cure for pain and fatigue, it can be tremendously beneficial in helping people deal with and manage their illness.
What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a way of helping people change the way they think. It helps you to recognize and dispel negative beliefs and fears that prevent you from coping with your illness as effectively as possible. CBT is more similar to life coaching than psychoanalysis or deep counseling. You won't be discussing the nuances of your childhood or analyzing the inner workings of your subconscious mind. It is about having clear goals and finding the easiest and most natural ways to meet them. CBT helps you to learn how to realistically assess your situation from a place of empowerment rather a place where all of your fears are in control.
The average length of treatment is 16 weeks for one hour. Strategies such as meditation, gentle exercise, pacing, asking for support and relaxation exercises may be taught to effectively cope with a life of chronic illness.
How Will Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Benefit a Person with these Condition?
You will learn to confront thoughts that tell you that you can't and replace them with realistic and empowering thoughts. For example, "I will never go to another party again because I get so tired and make a fool out of myself" could become "I am going to come up with positive strategies to deal with going to a party."
You will learn about pacing, and how setting limits can keep your energy steady and help you avoid becoming exhausted. Keeping a diary might be useful for understanding your behaviors and triggers more thoroughly. You may learn to ask for help from family, friends, teachers, employers, and support groups where necessary and appropriate. Guidance on prioritizing what is important for you in your in life and identifying what can be left out may be given.
CBT will help you take personal responsibility for your life so that you can make positive changes. You can learn how to calm your mind and your body so that you think more clearly, make better decisions, and feel more in control.
Breaking belief patterns that are keeping you feeling depressed is the foundation for CBT. If you believe that doing any activity will cause a relapse, then it probably will. If you do that activity with realistic expectations and strategies, you will most likely get through it. Dwelling in the situation and being a victim is unlikely to be helpful. CBT will help you to accept your situation and where you are right now.
Is It Guaranteed To Work?
In order for CBT to be effective, it is important to must stick to the treatment and the advice given. Unfortunately, research studies show that people with CFS have a high drop-out rate for CBT. An increase in symptoms or symptom severity is the main reason cited for discontinuing CBT. Pacing and keeping focused on how therapy can benefit you will help you avoid this so you can get the full benefits. Those who have the best chance of improvement are the people who remain as active as possible and wish to maintain a certain control over their illness.Any therapy is only going to work if you want to be there and are open to what it has to offer.
Studies reveal that when people who have CFS and FM feel in control of their health and life, their overall wellbeing improves. This is the aim of CBT.There is never a guarantee, but CBT has been shown to be incredibly effective at helping many people with Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia to feel better about themselves, their illness, and life in general.
About the authorSheryl is a kinesiologist, nutritionist and holistic practitioner.
Her website www.younglivingguide.com provides the latest research on preventing disease, looking naturally gorgeous, and feeling emotionally and physically fabulous. You can also find some of the most powerful super foods on the planet including raw chocolate, purple corn, and many others.
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