If you have ongoing GI problems like IBS, you’ve likely tried many things: dietary changes, medication, and lifestyle. Maybe these changes helped, but you’re curious about therapy, too. At the end of the day, you feel hopeless and overwhelmed by how IBS interferes with your life. Nausea, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, bloating, and gas. The canceled plans with friends, sick days, anxiety about dating or new sexual partners, and daily search for public bathrooms. The hyper-vigilance is exhausting and stressful.
We get it, and we have so much empathy for the disruption that IBS can cause.
You may feel frustrated when people tell you to try therapy. You’re thinking, “You don’t understand—the problems are in my digestive system! I don’t have time to talk about my childhood right now.” We completely understand! And we want to explain how therapy helps because we know how awful you feel. We think you might like the idea of CBT if we tell you how simple and direct it can be (and that it doesn’t require dwelling on the past).
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for IBS may not be the kind of therapy you see in the movies—lying on the couch and talking without any structure or input from your therapist is not an evidence-based therapy for IBS.
With CBT for IBS, we get to the point by teaching you skills. What kind of skills? CBT delivers skills that help you MANAGE THE CONNECTION BETWEEN YOUR BRAIN AND YOUR GUT.
Many research trials have shown this to be true: CBT helps you make new habits that reduce GI symptoms and improve quality of life. And it doesn’t take that long to start helping.
“The skills are not difficult or complicated. Working with a therapist can help us learn new habits faster than trying completely on our own. ”
A key part of CBT is that a good CBT therapist will not only teach you about exercises and habits you can use to manage your IBS, but they will also motivate you to practice and hold yourself accountable. That’s the KEY and the reason why benefits of CBT last over time.
The skills are not difficult or complicated. Working with a therapist can help us learn new habits faster than trying completely on our own.
So what are the skills you’ll learn with CBT?
If you’re interested in trying CBT or would like more information, we suggest the following resources:
Therapy Lab is an evidence-based therapy platform offering treatment packages to help adults, teens, children, and families meet specific goals. With an upfront timeline, we prioritize structure, efficiency, and results. We measure clients’ progress as we go and apply science-based principles such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to the therapy process.