Overcome Postpartum Anxiety (Part 2) - The Motivational Treatment Model

In my last blog, you learned about the Hidden Emotion treatment model for anxiety. Another treatment model in TEAM-CBT includes the Motivational treatment model.

This model states that anxiety is present for good reasons. It is benefiting you in some way and is often tied to your value system.

Before working to decrease the anxiety, it's important to see why the anxiety is there, honor it, and give it a voice. This is paradoxically much more effective in decreasing anxiety than trying to stuff the anxiety, ignore it, or run away from with (e.g., with drugs/alcohol), which often magnifies the anxiety.

We often have to reveal these benefits and values before anxiety feels safe enough to decrease. I see this model as soothing the anxiety, letting it know that you're okay and you no longer need it to be so high to protect you. For some, it's helped you survive at some point in your life, so it thinks it still needs to hang around.

Here's what to do:

  1. Think of a recent moment in time when you felt really anxious.
  2. Rate how high your anxiety is now from 0-100 as you think of that moment.
  3. Write down some of your anxious thoughts during that moment (e.g., My baby can die of SIDs at any moment, I'll never be happy again, I'm going to die, etc).
  4. Rate how true your anxious thoughts feel from 0-100, with 0 being not at all true and 100 being completely true.
  5. Write down how anxiety and your anxious thoughts benefits you in that moment - this can be challenging and may even sound a bit crazy at first. Some examples could be: it keeps me alert so I can protect my baby, it makes me plan and helps me prepare for the worst case scenario, it helps me stay on top of our health and well-being, it motivates me to problem solve...)
  6. Write down what each benefit shows about you as a person that's really positive (e.g., it shows I really care about my health and quality of life, it shows I desperately want to protect my child; I'm responsible, caring, conscientious...)
  7. Write down where you'd like your anxiety to be from the initial rating if you could turn it down to keep the benefits you just listed and shed the costs of how much it negatively affects you (e.g., Anxiety rated at 80%, would like to turn it down to 20%).
  8. Re-rate your belief in each anxious thought and your anxiety from 0-100 to see if this had an effect.

For more tips and techniques to feel like yourself again, click here for exclusive access to my free guide and 4-day e-course for overcoming postpartum depression and anxiety.

Postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety counseling therapy OKC, Moore, Norman

Hi, I'm Thai-An. I'm a postpartum therapist and mother who is passionate about helping pregnant and postpartum parents overcome depression and anxiety so they can feel like themselves again and enjoy life with their baby and family. After overcoming my own battle with postpartum depression and anxiety, I opened Lasting Change Therapy, LLC in South Oklahoma City to dedicate my counseling practice to helping families have postpartum recovery and wellness, and I truly love it!