Do you struggle with weight loss, stopping smoking, sleeping difficulties, or back pain? Has your obsessive compulsive cleaning, post traumatic stress difficulties, sports injury, panic attacks, arthritis, or chronic fatigue got you down? Medical treatment helps, but so does cognitive behaviour therapy with mindfulness (CBTM ).
CBTM acknowledges the effect of how we think. Each thought creates an electrical reaction in the brain which carries the messages to the body. Negative thoughts, such as “I will never get better”, or, “I must be a real loser for this to happen to me”, add to existing physical pain or the difficulties mentioned earlier, by activating the brain and body with more stress-related chemicals.
Becoming more aware of how our thoughts, emotions, and behaviour influence physical and emotional pain enables us to change it. Licia Karp, currently studying for a PhD with the Department of Psychology, NUIG, in pain management, learnt CBT when completing her masters degree in clinical social work in South Africa. “When I studied CBT, it became clear to me that it was a very practical, empowering, way to work with people in emotional and physical pain, and seemed to get results far more quickly than psychotherapy,” she said.
Ms Karp, already experienced in mindfulness practice, added it to her CBT work. “CBTM combined the best techniques and my clients reported great satisfaction with this method,” she explained.