Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
WHAT IS COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a method of treatment for psychological disorders, that takes a practical, task-based approach to solving problems. It is designed to help change negative thoughts and behaviours, by providing more positive and fulfilling solutions.
The focus of CBT is to address symptoms while they are present, and to learn skills and techniques that can be used in the ongoing improvement of mental health.
CBT has been used to treat a wide range of issues in children, teenagers and adults, and is proving to be even more successful when combined with Clinical Hypnotherapy to treat issues such as:
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
HOW DOES CBT WORK?
As the name suggests, cognitive behavioural therapy works by teaching a person to change their thoughts (cognition) and their behaviours. The aim is to assess the negative thoughts a person is having about themselves, and their view of the world, and to replace them with more positive and constructive thoughts and behaviours. By addressing the thoughts and behaviours which contribute to the development and maintenance of problems, CBT seeks to offer a holistic approach to mental health care.
In its simplest form, CBT requires only two things: learning and doing. A person undertaking CBT will learn coping skills and techniques, both ones that are pertinent to their health issue, and more general ones that will help with everyday life. They will learn about their health condition, and how it is being maintained. This aspect of CBT is founded on the adage that knowledge is power. The more someone knows about their own disorder, the better equipped they will be to recognise its symptoms and do something about it.
With this knowledge, a person will then be equipped to actively change their behaviours. They will be able to face their fears, or to deal with situations that they were previously unable to deal with. CBT seeks to enforce this relationship between knowledge and activity, in order for a person to take practical steps to alleviate their symptoms and to recover.
BEFORE TREATMENT COMMENCES
You will meet with your CBT therapist. A course of CBT generally varies between five and 20 sessions,
usually offered weekly or fortnightly. This is to allow time between sessions to put lessons into practice.
Your therapist will learn about you through questions about your life and background.
The answers you provide may affect the course of action prescribed to you in your CBT sessions.
You will decide what goals you want to achieve over the course of your treatment, and into the future.
It is important to note that, through the first few sessions, your therapist will assess the usefulness and viability of CBT for you, and will check that you are comfortable with it.
DURING THE CBT SESSION
Along with your therapist, you will start by deciding what you want to focus on during the session, and you will go over the lessons and tasks from the last session.
You will break down each problem that you want to discuss into parts. This will help you learn about your own thought patterns, emotions, and behaviours.
You will assess your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours to find out of they are realistic or helpful, and to see how they affect you.
Your therapist will help you come up with ways to challenge and change any unhelpful, unrealistic, or destructive thoughts and behaviours.
You and your therapist will agree on homework tasks that you will undertake between sessions, during which you will put in place, and practice, the coping skills and techniques that you have learned. These tasks will be designed to make you as comfortable as possible while adding a small challenge to your behaviours.
The homework aspect of CBT is one of the most vital parts of the process, so it is imperative that you actually practice the tasks set for your homework. You will learn, through undertaking the set tasks, to think positively, and challenge yourself to cope with normal situations.