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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2017

    Default My Experience with CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)

    Hi everyone!

    Just a few things I want to get out of the way before getting into this:

    1) I'm posting this on the open General Discussion so everyone can see this, regardless of whether or not they have an account - I want to bring awareness to my experience so that others can benefit from that knowledge

    2) This is a 'bad experience' thread. This doesn't mean I'm slating CBT, so don't click off this thread so quickly. I'm not trying to change your opinion, or say CBT is bad, but a well rounded perspective on things is needed to fully understand what people are getting into.

    Let's get into it.

    Firstly, I know it's hard, as an emetophobe, to try new things to 'cure' yourself. You're adverse to trying for several reasons, namely: confronting your worst fear, being made to feel stupid or weak, or just being scared of failure. What I would say to this is, welcome new opportunities with caution. Do research and understand what it is you're getting in to. There are countless studies just a simple google away.

    Next, I just want to talk about what CBT is. From what my 'therapist' said, cognitive behavioural therapy is a type of therapy that challenges the thoughts and behaviours exhibited by patients in order to attack the root of the phobia, rather than simply treating the symptms (as anti-anxiety meds may do).

    I was very hopeful about finally getting this off my chest. It had been burdening me for a long time, and speaking to people about it made it worse - getting funny looks or being told I was weird. I finally found the word 'emetophobia' and started delving into it - when I found CBT.

    I decided to give it a try, since - what could go wrong? At worst, I'm not cured and I am left right where I started. This is where the issue lies: that thought process was completely false.

    My therapist, over the course of 8 sessions, managed to convince me of several things. Those being:

    > I was malnourished because I "looked too skinny" (I'm 'underweight' according to the BMI scale but perfectly healthy otherwise. 6" and 140lbs at the time - also male)
    > I may have been allergic to something in my diet because it was unusual to exhibit fear 'constantly' it was, and i quote 'usually set off by something, not just all the time'
    > I was drinking too much water, and googled the symptoms of overhydration in front of me, one of those being 'n* and v*ing' (this is only in severe cases, pay no attention to this)
    > I needed to attend her 'mindfulness' class that she runs independently of her company with her friend at 400 a pop (I didn't) otherwise I wouldn't be able to cope with my fear (I can now)

    Amongst many other unhealthy habits. I cut large food groups out of my diet to try and isolate my 'allergy' since I must be allergic to something to feel n* all the time. I started drinking a lot less water in fear of v*ing from drinking too much. She created so many negative associations in my head and it slowly tore me apart.

    In our last session, I skipped off to the toilet half way through to have a panic attack related to it. When I got back (after about half an hour) she asked if i went because I was scared I was going to v*. I said no, she said ok. She then handed me a feedback form that she made me fill out in front of her, so I couldn't even leave her negative feedback.

    Overall, CBT ruined my life for a short period of time. I convinced myself it made me better because I needed that at the time. I needed that hope - something to cling on to.

    Since then (over two years ago), I have started going to the gym and exercising regularly (I strongly reccommend this to fight the anxiety associated with emetophobia), eating healthy, and organising my life. I'm much happier, I haven't had an episode in over a year, I've received two promotions at my job (and been commended on several occasions for my good work) and best of all, I'm happy.

    I can't really explain what gave me the motivation to overcome my fear, and it's still very much there, whenever I get on a train or I'm in a space without quick and easy access to a toilet, but I am better now. Will I ever be cured? Probably not. Is this the best state I've been in in a long time? Definitely yes.

    This post is to warn people about the dangers of 'professionals' who aren't professionals. If you do not relate to or click with a therapist, request with the company who employs them to change. They will not say no if it's for your personal benefit, you will not face any repercussions for asking to do so, and you could save yourself an awful lot of time and ache.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Vancouver, BC, Canada

    Default Re: My Experience with CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)

    WORD. I'm so sorry you went through that. I have to say, though, since I'm a therapist, that what you experienced is not CBT at all, but a very very bad therapist doing - God knows what. She can't even define it properly. Cognitive therapy is learning to think differently about what you fear (it's a slow process, but eventually your anxious brain parts will come around to listening to your logical brain parts - with the right coaching from your therapist). Behavioural therapy is slowly and gradually - VERY slowly and gradually changing your behaviour in the face of the stimulus (in our case, all things vomit-related). It requires making a careful hierarchy of fears and then - with YOU in charge - starting with the easiest thing, slowly getting used to being in its presence (for example, just the word itself, or some other words, or a little drawing of someone who looks unwell). But that notwithstanding, ALL therapy should involve the therapist doing mainly LISTENING, and having "unconditional positive regard" for the client. Carl Rogers' words, not mine - although I have it and so do thousands of therapists. Not yours, apparently.

    Hang in there, and don't give up. I went through TEN therapists before I found one who could help me. Although that was before the internet existed so it should be a bit easier now! Best of luck!
    For more info about emetophobia and treatment:

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    DISCLAIMER ~ Any advice I give on this forum is well-intentioned and given as to a peer or friend or for educational purposes. It does not in any way constitute psychotherapeutic or medical advice. Please discuss anything you may learn from my posts with your doctor and psychotherapist prior to making any decisions or changes or taking any actions.

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  3. #3

    Default Re: My Experience with CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)

    I'm so sorry to hear of this experience... As someone who practices evidence-based treatment with CBT (and has been on the receiving end), it does sound like the issue was with the therapist, not CBT itself. Its unfortunate that some practitioners say they're CBT when really they are not.



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