Introducing QBT: Qigong Behavioral Therapy

Qigong Behavioral Therapy (QBT) is an enhancement of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)––a popular therapeutic approach that has been clinically proven to be effective for a wide range of psychological disorders, including substance use disorder, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, insomnia, chronic pain and fatigue. In fact, CBT has a better track record of empirical results, than any other psychotherapeutic method.

Cognitive behavioral approaches generally have four components: body, emotions, thoughts and behaviors. In this case, “body” refers to the general state of physical health, for example, for someone dealing with an eating disorder. How QBT differs from CBT is through the addition of life energy––which we call “qi”––which provides a missing component that can increase the effectiveness of the overall approach of behavioral therapies.

As a result, QBT isn’t just a talking therapy. By adding qigong as a positive action that can be more effective in managing your problems, it not only changes your thoughts to impact your behaviors, but provides a powerful technique in the realm of action and increasing qi.

Regarding psychotherapy we can look at various schools of psychotherapy and  map them to the four paths of yoga. – karma, bhakti, jnana and raja. Bhakti yoga is the pursuit of union with God through devotion, usually to the guru, and is the way of emotions and the heart.  Jnana yoga is the pursuit of wisdom through mental activity. Karma yoga is the yoga of action, and in our health conscious times, has been quietly redefined as the pursuit of physical enlightenment…that is, health and fitness. Raja yoga is the royal path, and is generally considered to be the integration of the other three paths.

Freudian psychoanalysis is somewhat like jnana yoga, in which we seek understanding through discovering, unlocking and understanding psychic blockages formed in childhood. Gestalt therapy is like bhakti yoga, in which we seek to release our emotions and heal the heart. Behavorial therapies are like karma yoga, which are focused on actions and behaviors to enable rapid change. QBT is like raja yoga, an integrative path that includes all three of these approaches, and adds the awareness of energy, like bioenergetics or Reichian therapy, to the mix.

How QBT Works

This new approach to psycho-energetic healing is based on the concept that your memories, thoughts, attitudes, feelings, physical sensations, actions, behavior, and energies are interconnected, and that negative thoughts — as well as feelings as well as negative practices that deplete life energy — can trap you in a vicious cycle. Unlike primarily thinking based CBT approaches, which tackle your current problems with only your cognition, QBT allows you to tackle those issues with your mind, body, and your qi energy.

Therefore, these six components of QBT––physical health, emotions, attitudes, thoughts, behaviors and life energy––interact as a complex system. Every component has a notable influence on the others, and this influence is reciprocal in nature. And so, a negative thought stemming from an unpleasant event can affect your emotion, which in turn can regurgitate a negative pattern of thoughts and behaviors. In some instances these components can start a downward spiral of negative changes that can throw you into a tailspin, leading to aggravated frustrations, depression or an anxiety disorder.

However, with QBT, you can learn new skills and practices to manage depression, anxiety and prevent relapse. It starts by simultaneously learning to identify the triggers and symptoms of anxiety and depression, paired with a daily practice of increasing life energy, so QBT learners can more effectively address such issues as they arise in everyday life. So instead of “slowing down” or “giving in”, you now have six tools in your toolkit for not only stopping but reversing that tailspin: increasing your health, lightening your emotions, planting positive thoughts, reinforcing positive behaviors, and collecting and storing your life energy.

QBT is a practical way to improve your state of mind and rebuild a robust resource of energy on a daily basis, by addressing the issues of energetic impetus. A fire truck needs both gas and water: even if you seem healthy physically (gas), you may not have the internal life energy (water) to fight fires. I sometimes call this “zenenergy”––which is the capacity to “be zen about things”, and address them with resilience and calmness at the same time. The exercises we teach offer practitioners a real-time feedback on how internal calmness can create a sense of “energetic fullness”, notably, more resilience to manage stressful situations with more equanimity.

How You Can Find Out More

If you’re curious about QBT, the surest way to learn is to try a session. Just call or email me to set up a time, and we can do an intake session to assess your situation and provide you with some exercises to try.

It’s simple and direct, and one client remarked, “Through QBT, I found that I feel calmer, less agitated and more focused than I had been prior to practice. Certain physical symptoms and the anxiety I felt prior to this approach simply dissipated. In addition, I have been able to teach and work on my dissertation data analyses in a more relaxed and happy state of mind. I am able to flow more easily with the events in my environment and am less reactive. “– Laura, Age 58, Ph.D.


2 thoughts on “Introducing QBT: Qigong Behavioral Therapy

  1. Dear Sir,
    I am interested in finding out more about this.
    I am a Psychotherapist and teach Tai chi and Qigong. I subtly use these modalities therapeutically whilst teaching.
    Kind regards

    • Randy-ADMIN says:

      There are a myriad of Qigong styles and methods throughout the world. The three systems I studied have some elements in their practices that do appear to have an effect on the mental constitution of students. When practiced consistently, according to Taoist masters, for 100 days results begin to manifest. For example, when holding a posture with the arms upright above the heart the qi rises and this may lift mild to moderate depression. When feeling anxious, the lower postures appear to reduce anxiety. In either case, the breathing, which I call “belly button breathing” may regulate the pace of breathing allowing for a calmer and more equitable state of mind. The correlation between the bodily postures and the mental effects is very subtle and students ought not to expect long term effects unless consistently practiced. At times, an immediate benefit will manifest, however the longer term benefits require a committed training schedule.

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