Home > Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is good
news for people who have
chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Studies show that this
type of therapy can help you feel better.1
Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches you how to change your thinking and
fears that prevent you from planning and managing your activities
realistically. Research shows that people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) can improve when they
learn about their ability to control their health and then take steps to do
Some facts about
Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps people with CFS
Dream analysis and examination of the
subconscious mind are part of psychoanalysis. The correct answer is b. The
techniques used in cognitive-behavioral therapy involve counseling, teaching,
Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps people with
CFS recognize thoughts and fears that prevent them from planning and managing
their activities realistically. Then, they can face their illness realistically
and figure out how to improve.
Continue to Why?
The people with
chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) who have the best
chance of improvement are those who remain as active as possible and who seek
to have some control over their illness. A therapist can help you do that. For
example, you may believe that any activity that causes fatigue will make your
illness worse. You may be afraid to expend energy for fear of having a
Because a cognitive-behavioral therapist helps you work
on your thinking patterns and on the way you react to problems, you can learn
to let go of beliefs and fears about CFS that may be contributing to inactivity
and despair. With therapy, you can learn how to calm your mind and your body so
that you can feel better, think more clearly, and make better decisions.
Any activity that makes you tired should be avoided
because it will only make your illness worse.
Thinking that "any activity that makes you
tired should be avoided because it will make your illness worse" is exactly the
kind of belief that a cognitive-behavioral therapist can help you
Continue to How?
For most people, therapy
usually consists of weekly one-hour visits over the course of just a few weeks
or months. Longer-term and/or more frequent therapy is available for those who
need it. Here are some of the techniques a cognitive-behavioral therapist may
Therapy can be expensive and may not be covered by
insurance, but the fact that it is usually short-term helps keep the cost
Cognitive-behavioral therapists use self-help
techniques to teach people with CFS how to manage their lives more effectively
by setting goals, prioritizing tasks, and learning to be
The goal of cognitive-behavioral therapy is to
learn how to manage chronic fatigue syndrome by studying your symptoms and
coming up with a management system for coping with them.
Continue to Where?
Talk with your doctor
If you're wondering whether cognitive-behavioral
therapy is for you, take this information with you when you visit your doctor
and talk about it.
Return to topic:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Reid S, et al. (2008). Chronic fatigue syndrome,
search date September 2007. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence. Also available online:
Other Works Consulted
White PD, et al. (2011). Comparison of adaptive pacing therapy, cognitive behaviour
therapy, graded exercise therapy, and specialist medical care
for chronic fatigue syndrome (PACE): A randomised trial. Lancet, 377(9768): 823–826.
April 22, 2011
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Nancy Greenwald, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
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