Staying mentally positive for musicians is absolutely vital when things are not always going their way. A lot of folks resort to drugs and booze, which can often get out of control. What I found helps me, is cognitive behaviour therapy, or CBT. Here are some basics on the subject.
What is CBT?
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy. It has been proved to help treat a wide range of emotional and physical health conditions in adults, young people and children. CBT looks at how we think about a situation and how this affects the way we act. In turn our actions can affect how we think and feel. The therapist and client work together in changing the client’s behaviours, or their thinking patterns, or both of these. There are also a range of self-help book and courses for those that are short of time. Another thing that is similar is mindfulness which can be read about here:
What can CBT help with?
CBT has been seen to be effective in the treatment of the following conditions:
- anxiety disorders (including panic attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder). Ideal for Musicians who need to get up in front of an audience
- obsessive compulsive disorder
- schizophrenia and psychosis
- bipolar disorder
There is also good evidence that CBT is helpful in treating many other conditions, including:
- chronic fatigue
- anxiety disorders in children
- chronic pain
- physical symptoms without a medical diagnosis
- sleep difficulties
- anger management
How CBT is delivered?
Cognitive therapists are most likely to use one of the following:
It can be offered in individual sessions with a therapist or as part of a group. The number of CBT sessions you need depends on the difficulty you need help with. Often this will be between five and 20 weekly sessions lasting between 30 and 60 minutes each. CBT is mainly concerned with how you think and act now, instead of looking at and getting help with difficulties in your past.
You and your therapist will discuss your specific difficulties and set goals for you to achieve. CBT is not a quick fix. It involves hard work during and between sessions, similar to homework. Your therapist will not tell you what to do. Instead they will help you decide what difficulties you want to work on in order to help you improve your situation. Your therapist will be able to advise you on how to continue using CBT techniques in your daily life after your treatment ends.
CBT is available in a wide range of settings, as well as hospitals or clinics. It is sometimes provided in the form of written or computer-based packages. This may be combined with flexible telephone or face-to-face appointments to check progress and help overcome any barriers to putting into practice what you have learned. This way of delivering CBT has made it more accessible to people with busy lives, and has also reduced delays in getting help.
CBT-based self-help books are available. There are also websites providing information on CBT techniques which are free to access. Evidence does show that using them works better with support from a therapist, especially for low mood. This is best for people that are short of time, but will take make the effort to change.
So, if as a muso you are struggling mentally, why not look into the above? You will be glad that you did.
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