The Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

By Akatsu, Ryota | The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan), February 5, 2017 | Go to article overview

The Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy


Akatsu, Ryota, The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)


Many people's anxieties increase when they venture out into society due to factors such as work and interpersonal relationships. For people who tend to think negatively, social anxiety can be even worse. However, by following an approach based on cognitive behavioral therapy (see below), it may be possible to adopt a slightly more positive outlook.

It has been five years since a 28-year-old man in Fukuoka Prefecture became a civil servant. Although he currently works in an environment where he is able to consult his boss whenever he is unsure of something, at his first workplace he was overburdened with problems he felt obligated to resolve on his own. Unable to take his mind off his troubles, he started feeling anxious and stress built up.

"Whenever I started to change my clothes to get ready for work, I would get pains in my chest. Putting my shoes on and stepping out the front door felt as terrifying as if I were jumping off a roof," he recalls.

Around the end of his first year, he took leave. Although he returned to work, he was unable to do his job again after just a few months.

The man consulted Misuzu Nakashima, a clinical psychologist specializing in cognitive behavioral therapy, in December 2014 for workplace counseling. She said, "Unless he can analyze the causes of his stress and find ways to cope, the cycle of leave and work will repeat."

Nakashima categorized the man as the type of person with a strong sense of responsibility and dedication to his work. Although competent, he was too caught up in the idea that it was his fault when things failed and that he should not rely on others. Even when he returned to work, he felt indebted to his colleagues for the inconvenience he caused them during his absence, trapping him in a vicious cycle in which he could not even consult with them or ask questions.

In terms of cognitive behavioral therapy, he had higher-than-normal levels of three characteristics: "approval dependence," where a person gets their sense of self-esteem from the approval of others; "self-criticism," where a person thinks they are personally responsible when problems occur; and "perfectionism," where a person gets terribly upset whenever they make a mistake.

Writing down 3 things

Although the obvious solution is simply to stop blaming oneself so much, people in his situation have a hard time recognizing this. …

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