Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
What is CBT?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a form of Psychotherapy, it works on the principle of how thoughts, feelings, physical symptoms and behaviours are interlinked and how we can get caught in negative cycles. All of these different areas can be affected by what has or is happening in our current lives (situation).
For example, let’s take work based stress - The situation is being overworked and undervalued by your employer (situation). You feel anxious on your way to work; heart racing, feeling sick (physical symptoms). You tell yourself that everybody else can deal with it and are better than you (thoughts). As a means of coping you are drinking more at home and avoiding seeing friends (behaviours). CBT applies a problem solving, goal focused, structured approach to treatment with a 'here and now' focus. Working collaboratively to gain a shared understanding of these difficulties you are facing and apply interventions that help you evaluate negative thinking, modify behaviours and manage difficult emotions.
Often, when looking for support people use the umbrella term “counselling” or this may have been recommended by a GP, friend or family member. In many ways CBT and Counselling are the same, as they are “talking therapies”. However, Counselling approaches are more likely to give you the space to explore past experiences, difficult emotions and how they are impacting on the present. Counselling can be less structured and more of an explorative approach.
What to expect?
You might not know what to expect from therapy. You might not know how to describe how you are feeling or know the support you need. This might be the first time looking for support which can be daunting. Don’t worry. Hopefully below, you will find some information about what to expect but if you still have questions or would like to discuss thing further please feel free to contact me.
An initial assessment gives us the opportunity to talk through how you are feeling to help gain a shared understanding. You are the expert in how you feel and I can offer knowledge and experience about how to overcome these difficulties so we can make sense of things together. Treatment is a collaborative process, like riding a tandum bike – working together on a journey to reach your destination.
Treatment can be for as little as a few weeks to a few months but always goal focused, working to a point where you feel you have achieved what you wanted from treatment and feel able to go forward on your own, implementing what you have learnt. Therefore, we start with establishing treatment goals. Sometimes this can be difficult and may only involve an overarching goal of “feeling less anxious” or “less depressed”. We can revisit goals during treatment to establish a clearer picture of how you might know whether you have achieve your goals E.g. feeling less anxious may equate to spending more time socially with friends.
CBT treatment involves us working together in session but because the clinic room does not reflect day to day life, it also involves practicing and testing things out between sessions. A bit like homework…but don’t be put off by this! It is not in the sense of getting it “right” or being “marked”. It’s more about making sense of it together, looking at what has gone well, not so well and how we can build on what has been learnt.