Epilepsy Talk

CBT — When you feel that you’ve hit rock bottom… | June 13, 2020

Sara had a brain surgery gone wrong. She spent her all of her savings and all of her resources on rehab. One year later, she went home, only to be able to toilet herself and say “dog”. She was lost.

Both physically and mentally. You might say she was “a basket case”.

Sandy was in a near fatal car accident. She survived, but just barely. After her physical healing, she said she couldn’t put two sentences together.

Then she heard about CBT.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most common and best studied forms of psychotherapy. It is a combination of two therapeutic approaches, known as cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy.

It has been demonstrated to be effective for a range of problems including depression, anxiety disorders, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorders, phobias, and even severe mental illness.

The underlying concept is that thoughts and feelings play a fundamental role in behavior.

CBT is based on a model or theory that it’s not events themselves that upset us, but the meanings we give them.

If our thoughts are too negative, it can block us seeing things or doing things that don’t fit – that disconfirm – what we believe is true.

In other words, we continue to hold on to the same old thoughts and fail to learn anything new.

The goal of cognitive behavior therapy is to teach people that while they cannot control every aspect of the world around them, they can take control of how they interpret and deal with things in their environment.

It can be an effective tool to help anyone learn how to better manage stressful life situations (especially post-traumatic stress).

In many studies, CBT has been demonstrated to be as effective as, or more effective than, other forms of psychological therapy or psychiatric medications.

It has been shown to be effective in over 1,000 research studies where there is ample scientific evidence that the methods that have been developed actually produce change.

If a person can change their way of thinking, their distress decreases and they can function in a way that is more likely to benefit them and those around them.

Here’s how it works: The psychologist and patient/client work together, in a collaborative fashion, to develop an understanding of the problem and to develop a treatment strategy.

Through exercises in the session as well as “homework” exercises outside of sessions, patients/clients are helped to develop coping skills, whereby they can learn to change their own thinking, problematic emotions and behavior.

This may include observing what you tell yourself about an experience (self-talk), your interpretation of the meaning of a situation, and your beliefs about yourself, other people and events.

You might think of it as wearing a pair of glasses that makes you see the world in a specific way.

It makes us more aware of how these thought patterns create our reality and determine how we behave.

You may not be “cured” and your problems might not necessarily go away. But CBT can introduce a patient to a new set of principles that they can apply whenever they need to.

Positive behaviors that will last a lifetime.


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  1. Why should someone have to wait to “hit rock bottom” before starting CBT? Just having epilepsy on a day to day basis is traumatizing. It should be an essential part of treatment, though rarely financially possible, unfortunately.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by skolly9 — June 14, 2020 @ 7:38 PM

  2. A very good and salient point, skolly.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 14, 2020 @ 8:14 PM

  3. WOW!! “ROCK BOTTOM”! Hmmmmm. Kind of reminds me of “MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT AND MIDDLE OF THE MORNING”!!!!! Or black and white!! People seem to forget about the “MIDDLE OF THE DAY” or “GREY”. Sometimes we just get stuck/frozen or maybe lost/petrified!!!!! We seem to all forget about the MIDDLE OF THE DAY or to SWALLOW OUR PRIDE and ask for “HELP”!! Which brings me “HATE, PRIDE, FEAR, COMPASSION, LOVE, HOPE, ACCEPTANCE AND SHARING” OR “THE GREY AREA” humbleness, humility and living with sincerity, integrity with openness of heart, mind, body , and soul. I am FAR FROM ALL ENDS!!!!! Trust me!! But I am ALWAYS WILLING TO LISTEN, LEARN AND SHARE!! But sometimes not even I can dig that far down and I can be the master of my own demise!! Epilepsy and neurological injury and damage can sometimes or the medications we all have to take everyday can hurt us in ways we may not be aware of ourselves. And pushing ourselves isn’t always easy!! But asking for help and wanting to HELP OURSELVES BE THE BEST WE CAN IN EVERYWAY, SHAPE AND FORM IS ALL WE HAVE!!!!! So in order to get help we also have to help and TRY (DON’T STOP) and ASK FOR IT TOO!!!!! It’s not that hard I promise. For me my set back is when I know I AM SOMEONE’S JOB OR INCOME!! Would they want to help me help myself if they weren’t getting paid too?? Or would they help me if they weren’t getting paid? It’s the human factor and ALL MIGHTY DOLLAR THAT GETS IN MY WAY!!!!! But I LOVE MYSELF, HUSBAND, CHILDREN FAMILY AND FRIENDS TOO MUCH NOT TO ASK!! That’s the tough part!! Think “GREY AREA” for not only yourself, but for YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND SOCIETY TOGETHER!!!!! Not money. That comes and goes faster than we can turn our phones on now. We’re here WAY LONGER THAN THAT!!!!! Thank you Phylis and YOUR GROUP!! Please take care and be well my friends. 😊🦅💕

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kathy S.B — June 14, 2020 @ 9:07 PM

  4. Great information. I think we all could use some good CBT!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Tami — June 15, 2020 @ 10:17 PM

  5. Kathy S.B., for the record, generally therapists are not in it for the $, far from it. As my career was a psychiatric social worker I can attest that $ is not why we go into the profession. Expensive graduate degrees and oftentimes mandatory therapy that the student pays for, are part of the preparation for a very low-paying career. Why do we do it? Compassion, empathy, hope for change. Just like those who seek us out.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by skolly9 — June 16, 2020 @ 7:42 PM

  6. Thank you skolly, for all you say, all you do and all the contributions you make to this group. You ARE appreciated and a valued member.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 16, 2020 @ 8:32 PM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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