Psychotherapy Services in South West London

How CBT works to help alleviate anxiety

There are a number of CBT techniques that draw upon the power of imagery in tackling anxiety disorders by modifying the persistent negative images that patients hold of the anxiety provoking stimulus. One of the most effective techniques is exposure therapy where the patient confronts fear evoking objects or situations within a safe environment with patients instructed to actively visualise and describe the phobic stimulus. Another technique is systematic desensitization. The therapist works with the client to form a graduated anxiety hierarchy and using relaxation techniques asks the patient to visualise the anxiety provoking images. Fear of the phobic object develops through a fear memory which is responsible for escape and avoidance reactions. This fear structure is based on the meaning of the threat, exposure therapy modifies this fear structure by developing new information a new memory structure that replaces the old anxiety provoking structure.

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