What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – commonly referred to as CBT – is a type of talking therapy that places emphasis on the individual’s present problems, as opposed to focusing on past events.
It tends to be a highly structured therapeutic approach that enables therapist and client to break down the issues that the client presents with, in order to make them more manageable. The main idea behind CBT is that people tend to get caught up in vicious cycles, in which unhelpful thoughts, feelings and behaviours are interconnected.
CBT helps reframe unhelpful/negative thoughts into more realistic and balanced ones. When the client learns how to achieve this, the feelings and behaviours will also be more balanced.
CBT is a very proactive approach that requires commitment on both therapist’s and client’s ends. The therapist is required to listen attentively to the client’s concerns and point out unhelpful patterns that need to be tackled. On the other hand, the client is expected to commit to therapy by engaging with the therapist in the session and carrying out exercises in between sessions.
Overall, the aim is for the client to become their own therapist and develop a more realistic and balanced outlook of their life, which in turn will help them manage their own emotions and relationships better.
What issues does CBT help with?
CBT is helpful for the following issues:
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder (also known as excessive worrying)
- Panic attacks and panic disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Chronic conditions, such as: Irritable Bowels Syndrome (IBS), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia
- Sleep problems
How I use CBT in my practice
In my practice, I tend to refer to the CBT framework a great deal. However, at the same time, I do not hold onto it too rigidly, as I am more interested in each client’s individual experience and in how we can find the most optimal way to get the client unstuck. For this reason, more often than not, I combine CBT with other therapeutic techniques that require more creativity and flexibility, such as EMDR – please click here if you want to learn about EMDR and how it can be used.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a short informal chat to discuss your psychological needs – or would like to book a session – please click below.