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Owning Your Story…

We each have a story that we have lived and hold within us everyday. These stories are filled with courage, strength, survival, thriving, mending, and overcoming. When we share our story we take power over what we have lived (or what we are living). We become stronger. I’ve also noticed, from sharing mine, that it has helped others open up about their own experiences. It has shown someone that they are not alone, it has provided hope, and others have opened up and shared their own story. It has started a conversation!

A friend and I are starting work on a book which will feature a collection of life stories about survival, coping, mending, recovery and acceptance. Sharing your story doesn’t mean your life has to be perfect. No one’s life is perfect…I have been in recovery from major depression for years but my life is not perfect. I have setbacks and sometimes I feel down. But, I have more control over my illness than I once did. I have owned my story, my ongoing struggles, my rape, my abuse, and my mental illness. My good days last longer than my bad days. I now want to share my story to help others and this is what we hope our book accomplishes. By sharing your story, you not only will be owning it but you will also be helping others see that they are not alone in what they have experienced. There is power in numbers. We want to break the silence of mental illness!

If you would like to share your story or are interested and would like to learn more, you can contact us at OwnYourLifeStory@gmail.com. We are readily available to answer your questions. All is kept confidential. Our book will not use real names and all participants will sign a release of information before any story is published.

~Susan

 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

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My previous blog post was about psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is basically talk therapy. An individual meets with a trained mental health professional in a private, confidential setting to discuss their current/past life experiences, emotions, relationships, and struggles (National Alliance on Mental Illness, https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Treatment/Psychotherapy). The therapist works with the person to make connections with these experiences and assists them in developing healthy coping skills and adapting to life changes. For individuals living with a mental disorder, a therapist enables them to better manage the symptoms of their illness and function at their best in life (National Institute of Mental Health, http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/psychotherapies/index.shtml).

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, or NIMH, cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT,  is a form of psychotherapy developed by Dr. Aaron Beck in the 1960’s (NIMH, http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/psychotherapies/index.shtml). It combines the thoughts of the two theories, Cognitive theory, developed by Dr. Jean Piaget, and Behavioral Theory, developed by B. F. Skinner. Cognitive theory focuses on an individual’s “thoughts and beliefs, and how they influence,” their moods and behavior. The goal of cognitive therapy, or CT, is to help the individual change their thinking, so they can better adapt to life experiences in a healthy way. Behavioral therapy examines an individual’s actions and assists them in changing unhealthy patterns in their behaviors. Therefore, CBT helps and individual “focus on his or her current problems and how to solve them.”

“CBT helps a person focus on his or her current problems and how to solve them. Both patient and therapist need to be actively involved in this process. The therapist helps the patient learn how to identify distorted or unhelpful thinking patterns, recognize and change inaccurate beliefs, relate to others in more positive ways, and change behaviors accordingly.”

CBT can be used for a variety of mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and eating disorders. The National Institute of Mental Health article at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/psychotherapies/index.shtml shares more on CBT and how it works with each disorder.

CBT believes that the way a person thinks and feels impacts how they behave.

What is Psychotherapy?

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When I first sought therapy many years ago I was hesitant, scared, and didn’t know what to expect. All I knew about therapy was what I’d seen in the movies and on television. My desperation overruled my fear and I am glad that I went. I am still in therapy today and it has done wonders. It, along with my hard work, a good support system, and medication has helped me to reach recovery and maintain it. I would not be here without the combination.

What is psychotherapy? It is basically talk therapy. Other terms include “counseling, psychosocial therapy, or simply therapy” (Mayo Clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/psychotherapy/home/ovc-20197188). An individual, usually someone living with a mental disorder, seeks therapy from a licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or other trained mental health professional. The person will learn about their illness, treatment, how to cope with life, and manage their symptoms (National Institute of Mental Health, http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/psychotherapies/index.shtml).

We could all benefit from having a confidential confidante to share our innermost thoughts and concerns. To have someone we can depend upon for professional, not just emotional, advice and guidance. For someone living with a mental disorder, such as depression and anxiety, it does wonders (I speak of these two specifically due to the fact that I struggle with these).

There are several different types of psychotherapy. Tomorrow, I plan to blog about the type of psychotherapy called Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, also known as CBT. Please stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog post.

Also, I’d love to hear from each of you about what you’d like to read about or discuss. If you are hesitant to share it publically, feel free to email your suggestion to mendingandthriving@gmail.com. I will do my best to cover the topic and research for information about it. Thank you for following and reading my blog.

Susan