Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – or CBT – what it is and what do I mean by ‘doing what it says on the tin’?
Maybe something you have heard about, maybe someone you know said they found it helped with anxiety.
But what is it, how long does it take, will you need to spend many hours talking about your relationship with your Mother? If I don’t have depression is it only for that?
Well, I like to explain to both clients and people who are thinking about seeing a therapist that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy does what it says on the tin.
But what does that mean?
Let’s breakdown Cognitive and then Behavioural and then finish with a little about what Therapy is.
What are your cognitions or thoughts, what do you think about yourself, others and even the world?
The average person has somewhere in the region of 40,000 thoughts per day, now many of those come and go without any impact on our feelings.
What shall I have for dinner? I must put a wash out while the weather is nice.
The core of therapy work and the theory of cognitive behavioural therapy is that how we think directly affects how we act and then how we feel.
An example of this maybe seeing a close friend lets call her Jane, come out of a shop across the road, she looks directly at you but looks away. Your thoughts maybe – What have I said or done to her? Maybe she is cross about what I said last time we met?
Let’s continue with Jane and this example.
The behavioural part of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is based on the theory that what we do, how we act also influences how we feel.
So, in this example let’s suppose you decide that if Jane is going to be like that then its best if you stay clear.
You go home, maybe cry a little at the injustice or even get angry.
Who does she think she is, am I not entitled to my opinion?
What if there was another way to think and another way to behave? Might it make you feel better in this example. What if Jane didn’t see you, maybe she had other things on her mind?
If you had thought that – Jane looked upset I hope she is okay.
If you then acted differently and phoned her to check later that afternoon – Maybe she had had bad news and was so grateful that you called.
This is the work that a therapist will help you to piece together in a therapy session.
From the outset my goal is to help clients become their own therapist by helping them to come up with more helpful cognitions and more helpful actions.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is very much based in the present, we may need to understand how your beliefs and actions came about but the majority of our work will be in the here and now.
The timeframe for sessions will be anything from 6 weekly sessions to 20 if needed and depending on what the severity is.
What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Used to Treat?
Whilst CBT is an evidenced based treatment for different types of anxiety and depression, good research and outcomes are currently taking place for weight management, menopausal support, self-esteem and other issues.
To find out if cognitive behavioural therapy can help you please do book a complimentary telephone session.