What is CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) ?
CBT is a psychological therapy.
CBT begins with looking at what might be maintaining difficulties in the present rather than beginning by focussing mainly on childhood and the past.
Starting out In CBT
First sessions usually include mapping out situations on paper to understand how thoughts, feelings and behaviours/actions interact. This allows you and your therapist to gain a shared understanding of what is happening for you.
Sessions go at your pace and take into account your individual circumstances. As therapy continues it can look back at where patterns may have started in your past if this is maintaining problems in the present (an example might be working with images of being bullied as a child that impact social anxiety in the present).
Negative core beliefs about ourself and rules for living that we have put in place to combat those beliefs may be uncovered as the work progresses.
You are supported to experiment both in and between sessions. Experiments in modifying thought patterns and/or behaviours can change feelings, or manage difficult feelings that perhaps cannot be changed.
You are encouraged to complete between session reflections and tasks. Without these, the therapy may not be effective for you.
CBT is often offered in the NHS in a shortened form that focuses only on maintaining factors in the present. If you would like to read in more detail about CBT, click here for a description from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Finding a CBT Therapist
When looking for genuine CBT therapy it is important to check that your therapist has trained up to a level that makes them accreditable with the BABCP (British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapists). http://www.cbtregisteruk.com/
Some therapists have done some initial or top up training in CBT – that generally means that they will look at events with you in terms of thoughts, feelings and behaviours but they may not follow a set course of therapy. BABCP accreditable therapists are trained to offer people a therapy protocol that has been tested in clinical trials (so called “evidence-based” therapy). Protocols would differ according to your main problems or goals – different protocols exist for problems such as depression, anxiety, worry (in all its many forms such as generalised, social, health and obsessive compulsive, phobic) and PTSD.
Is CBT for me?
Different ways of communicating suit different people. Some people get on very well with a structured approach and others really benefit from a free flowing interaction. Similarly, some are helped by looking at their past and others by working on the present.
If you are interested in therapy with me I will look at the options with you. If you have some questions about my approach and methods please feel free to contact me [click here] so we can arrange a short discussion.