CBT and Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Cognitive Behavior Therapy Techniques
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that is used to treat various mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety and anger. Cognitive behavioral therapists focus on their clients thoughts, which thereby improve their maladaptive emotions and behaviors. Cognitive behavioral therapist also use various techniques to help their clients physiologically relax, especially those experiencing anxiety.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation for Anxiety
One common technique used to help those experiencing anxiety is called progressive muscle relaxation (PMR). It involves teaching a client to tense and relax each body part one at a time. The premise behind progressive muscle relaxation is that a human being can not experience arousal and tension at the same time. By having a client relaxes body he is unable to be anxious at the same time. Cognitive behavioral therapists will perform progressive muscle relaxation exercises within psychotherapy sessions. Cognitive behavioral therapist may also make audiotapes of themselves doing progressive muscle relaxation exercises and give them to their clients to do during the week for homework. Progressive muscle relaxation exercises may be done routinely or before an anxiety provoking event. Progressive muscle relaxation techniques may also be used to help people who experiencing insomnia and have difficulty sleeping.
PMR Conducted by a CBT Therapist
Cognitive behavioral therapist will talk to their clients about the technique of progress on muscle relaxation before having them engage in the exercise. Cognitive behavioral therapists will explain to their clients that they are about to tense each muscle one at a time to about 75% capacity. Cognitive behavioral therapist will explain to their clients that they’re going to hold various positions for several seconds and then relaxed that exact body part. Body parts that are tensed and relaxed and progressive muscle relaxation include hands, arms, feet, legs, torso, shoulders, neck, back, abdomen and face. A full progressive muscle relaxation exercise takes approximately 30 minutes. Cognitive behavioral therapist may shorten the exercise in session so they have enough time to discuss the clients reaction and other matters in the session. However, if given progressive muscle relaxation as homework assignments, client should engage in the full 30 minute exercise.
Cognitive behavioral therapist may notice that their clients have different reactions to progressive muscle relaxation exercises. Some clients may fall asleep and become lethargic during session during exercise. Some clients may say their body is extremely relaxed after the exercise. Other clients may experience the jitteriness or have difficulty staying still during the exercise. These client should practice the exercise at home, with the goal of engaging in the full 30 minutes to the point of relaxation. One of the key components to progressive muscle relaxation is to have the clients notice the difference between how their body feels when it is tense versus when it is relaxed. It teaches clients to relax each muscle of their body upon verbal cues, which will be quite helpful in anxiety provoking situations and in general.
Numerous Relaxation Exercises Exist
Various types of relaxation exercises are effective in treating people with anxiety and other mental health disorders. Deep breathing may be used in conjunction with progressive muscle relaxation. Cognitive behavioral therapist may teach their clients deep breathing exercises, such as diaphragmatic breathing. This involves having the clients breathe deeply from their abdomen, rather than shallow breathing from their chests. Progressive muscle relaxation in conjunction with deep breathing are effective tools in relaxing. Cognitive behavioral therapist should work with their clients if they are having issues completing work assignments to help them overcome these barriers. These exercises are effectively done if a client is lying down on the floor. The goal of the exercises is not to fall asleep, but to relax one’s body while staying awake and alert.