Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is one of the most effective therapies for anxiety. It is very effective at helping people change negative thinking patterns and behaviours to solve their problems and engage in life.

CBT

CBT encourages patients to develop more positive thoughts about themselves, the environment around them and their future: in this case the outcome related to their illness. The goal is to help a person understand how their thoughts affect their emotions and behaviour and to replace those reactions with positive or constructive alternatives.

At Parkinson’s Care and Support UK, we actively promote CBT. We are currently working with trained Psychotherapists to develop a free CBT Helpline for people across the UK with Parkinson’s who are also suffering from anxiety and depression. With regular CBT, anxiety and depression can be cured and quality of life and wellbeing significantly improved. This in turn can improve other Parkinson’s symptoms.

CBT can take place via telephone or face to face. Telephone therapy works well for people with anxiety who may find it particularly difficult to discuss life matters in person. Sessions will usually start with the therapist asking questions to find out what environments and situations make you most anxious, how you are coping and how anxiety affects day to day life. They will typically use a scoring or charting method to work out your level of anxiety being mild, moderate or high and track this week by week. Therapists will work with you to establish the reasons behind the negative or anxious feelings and how they affect actions and behaviour. Between sessions you will also be given exercises and tasks to help you with changing your thought process and re-evaluating your situation in order to achieve a different outcome.

Parkinson’s CBT Service

People often think that Parkinson’s only affects you physically. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Parkinson’s can have a big impact on one’s mental wellbeing and Anxiety and Depression are common non-motor symptoms of people living with the condition. 50% of people with Parkinson’s will suffer from Anxiety or Depression during their illness.

Unfortunately, NHS referrals for CBT can take several months. This means that the overall physical and mental wellbeing of someone with Parkinson’s can decline simultaneously and rapidly without quick intervention. People with Parkinson’s and Anxiety or Depression can also experience: worsening of tremors, reduced mobility due to tension and rigidity, sleep disturbances such as insomnia which can result in further cognitive decline and hallucinations and an inability to exercise due to lack of motivation and extreme fatigue. 

Not all NHS Therapists have experience of providing psychotherapy for people with Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s. Neurological Psychotherapy integrates neurobiology and psychotherapy. It is scientific and is based on the brain, its structure, the neurons and how it all wires together.

As part of the launch of the Parkinson’s Mental Health Support Hub, we have developed the first ever Parkinson’s CBT service specifically to help people with Parkinson’s who suffer from Anxiety or Depression. The service will be launched on World Parkinson’s Day– 11thApril 2021.

PCSUK’s New CBT Helpline

Our Parkinson’s CBT service is free and can be accessed following a successful referral from your GP. All patients need to be referred to the service by their GP, who is required to complete a medical background and certification form on behalf of the patient. This then allow our qualified therapist to review the medical background of the patient to determine whether they are suitable for the therapy. Once approved for CBT, a therapist will contact you to arrange your initial assessment and set up your weekly therapy appointments. All ofour therapists are particularly experienced in Neurological Psychotherapy resulting in a better understanding of Parkinson’s and how to successfully treat people with the condition.

What is CBT like?

Your CBT sessions will last for 45 minutes each week for approximately 6-10 weeks. All sessions will take place via ZOOM or via telephone. Online sessions are audio only and so you will not have to turn on your camera.

At the beginning of the therapy, you and your therapist may explore the problems you want to work on. When you have agreed which problems you want to focus on and what your goals are, you may start planning the content of sessions and talking about how you could deal with your problems. During the session, you might work through exercises with your therapist to explore your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. This may be in the form of diagrams or worksheets.

With CBT you are often given work to do in your own time, so the end of each session you might agree on some exercises to work on afterwards. At the beginning of your next session your therapist might start by going over the conclusions from your previous session and discussing what progress you’ve made with any work you agreed to do.

When you have completed your therapy, you will be invited for follow up appointments after 4 months and 12 months.

Parkinson’s Care and Support UK are the only UK charity that offers FREE CBT Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to people with Parkinson’s who are living with Anxiety or Depression. CBT encourages patients to develop more positive thoughts about themselves, the environment around them and their future: in this case the outcome related to their illness. The goal is to help a person understand how their thoughts affect their emotions and behaviour and to replace those reactions with positive or constructive alternatives.

Medications do not always work for anxiety and depression and can lead to dependence and severe side effects. Sadly, some people never stop taking antidepressants. CBT is the leading and most successful approach to treat anxiety and depression.

Our aim of the Helpline is to reduce isolation, cure anxiety and depression amongst people with Parkinson’s, reduce the suicide rate amongst people with Parkinson’s and to improve quality of life.

Online GP Referral Form
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Funding the Parkinson’s CBT Service

Tomorrow is guaranteed for no man. Whilst there is no cure yet for Parkinson’s Disease, it is important that each person with Parkinson’s has the opportunity to live their best life to the fullest. Please donate to our CBT Helpline programme. It is funded by the public and we won’t be able to make this happen without you.

Our therapists will spend 1 hour and 30 mins a week on each patient who is receiving CBT. This time is split between therapy, session planning and administration. The cost of therapy is £120 per person per week.

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Further help

Currently, we can refer you to independent therapists for CBT, should you wish to explore this. Please contact us at info@parkinsonscare.org.uk

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