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Helpful CBT Tools

By Debra Kissen

Anxiety Hierarchy

Organizing and rating the situations you fear and therefore try to avoid is the first step in moving past anxiety. When anxiety lives as an “amorphous blob” you can’t see if for what it is. It just keeps shapeshifting and taking on the form of the thing that scares you most at the current moment. Through the process of creating an anxiety hierarchy you will shift from seeing anxiety from the disempowering lens through which a prisoner would see their captor to the empowering, objective, cool-headed perspective with which a scientist would observe a phenomenon they are investigating.

CBT Thought Record

It can be helpful to track, challenge and disengage from anxiety-fueled catastrophic thoughts using a thought record such as below.  All you need to do is:

  1. Notice when a catastrophic thought has surfaced.
  2. Notice the feelings and sensations associated with this thought.
  3. Offer yourself a more balanced, realistic counter thought, in contrast to the extreme prediction associated with the catastrophic thought.
  4. Gently guide your attention back to the present moment, away from thoughts associated with “then” and “there”.

Exposure Tracking Log

Exposure therapy entails repeatedly confronting fear-inducing stimuli to teach your brain that a terrible consequence will not occur. Through exposure therapy, your brain will learn that the experience of anxiety is uncomfortable but not dangerous and that you can tolerate the distress associated with anxious thoughts and feelings.

Dr. Debra Kissen is CEO of Light On Anxiety CBT Treatment Center. Dr. Kissen specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)...

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