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19 Jul 2010

Hi Doc. I have all these things I remember from childhood, not bad stuff, but things that obviously affected a little girl. I have had social phobia and anxiety for most of my life and for the past 4 years, been treated with antidepressants and have had a course of CBT. However, the anxiety and sp is still there. I am reading a book that says that you need to tap into the subconcious and deal with this pain, to heal. How do I do that. I can think about the things that happened and realise that they were not bad, but still they affect me today. I am now 38. What do you suggest I do? Thanks.
Answer 406 views

01 Jan 0001

I would hope that your CBT therapist could explain why these symptoms are not yet under control. I doubt whether the book you have read is scientifically accurate - there are thousands of such books making claims that have never been proved, because they are written with the aim of seelling the book, rather than of being actually accurate or helpful.
Those things that happen in the past which you ssy were not particularly bad, cannot possibly directly affect you in any way - how they CAN indeed affect you is firstly because you have decided that they must continue to be important to you rather than allowing them to be forgotten, and secondly what affects you is not the events themselves, but the conclusions you have chosen to draw from them. They have the significance you have chosen to give them.
So long as you choose to maintain that system of assumptions and beliefs, they will affect you as they do. When you decide you don't need to or want to alow that to continue, to change the significance you have assigned to them, and to revise your beliefs to some that would be more fruitful for you, your situation will improve.
There is remarkably little good quality research to show that there even IS a subconscious ( in the sense that these books assume it to be ) ; and most of the methods used to deal with "tapping into the subconscious" etc, only set the problems in concrete and prevent useful change, and some are very dodgy and unhelpful indeed.
I would suggest you return to the shrink who was doing the CBT with you, to review if it was being used in the correct way and if you were actually doing the necessary homework and exercises it involved ( if not, that's the equivalent of leaving the aspirin in the bottle, and complaining that it hasn't relieved your headache ).
If the pair of you agree that CBT has been properly used here and that you have sincerely worked hard to do all that it requires, then clearly you need a different method of therapy - disuss THAT in turn with your shrink, who should be able to review with you other methods which have some good enough research evidence that they are helpful, and which are available in your area.
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