There are a number of different therapies that are available to you, so when you are looking for a therapist to work with it can be quite confusing.
This blog looks at Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and I wanted to write this for a number of reasons
1. I wanted to take away some of the myths about counselling/therapy.
Many of you may of heard of CBT but are not really sure what it is all about and how it might be able to help you.
2. If you struggle with something like anxiety or depression and take a trip to your GP they may suggest to you a course of CBT therapy, but you may be nervous about engaging with this if you have no idea what it is.
3. I wanted to bust the myth that therapy is only for people who are struggling with mental health problems, if you are experiencing a difficult situation in your life you may not feel counselling or therapy is going to be useful to you, may be you think that you are going to have to drag up things form the past, talk about things you don’t want to talk about or you think you have to sit in a room and just talk and wonder how that is going to help?
There are many different types of counselling and all of them are useful in their own way,
I have been trained in many different types of counselling and I will work with someone in a way that will be most beneficial for them.
CBT is an interactive therapy, with you and the therapist working together.
The therapist will work alongside you to help you understand certain tools and resources through the use of worksheets or a whiteboard to help explain things to you.
In a CBT session you may find there is more input from your therapist than with other types of counselling, as they will be demonstrating or explaining the tools or strategies that are going to be useful to you.
In the current climate I think a lot of people are struggling with what's going on.
At the beginning of lockdown it was difficult adjusting to the isolation but now as we start to come out of lockdown I think people are struggling with the confusion and are apprehensive, confused, angry and nervous about integrating back into a new normal.
CBT therapy could be really useful for people to be able to gain a better understanding of what is going on for them in the here and now and help them manage better.
CBT focuses on the here and now for you and helps you to understand why you are thinking, feeling or behaving in a certain way and then gives you some useful tools and strategies to help you make changes to your thoughts, feelings and behaviour so that they become more helpful to you.
When I was looking at setting up my counselling business I was putting up barriers that were preventing me from taking the leap from my corporate job into running my own business.
It was through my CBT sessions that I uncovered what thoughts were holding me back and once I re-framed those thoughts it allowed me to feel differently about setting up my own business.
I went from fear of setting up my own business, making lots of excuses not to do it, to a place where I felt excited about it and here I am now knowing I made absolutely the right decision.
So as you can see CBT isn’t just for people with what we may call mental health problems, it is useful for everyone, at any time in life.
If you have a particular situation or event that is causing you to feel like you are holding yourself back in life in some way, or is causing you distress or uncertainty then CBT can be useful to you.
CBT also provides you with skills that you can continue to use long after you have finished your therapy, I call it a tool box of useful resources that you can dip into at any time to help you
This could be very useful to you at the moment if you are struggling with re-integrating back into the new normal post Covid-19
So how does CBT help take you from a place of lets say negativity to a place of more positivity.
CBT teaches you strategies, methods and skills that are research based and is thought to be one of the most effective forms of psychotherapy, that is why the NHS turn to it because you can get tangible outcome data that helps show how people have moved forward and changed through the therapy.
CBT stands for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
Cognitive referring to what you Think- so a lot of focus is on understanding your thoughts, and beliefs
The central idea of CBT is that your thoughts about a situation, event or experience can powerfully affect your emotional response, your physical response and the way you behave in that situation.
The basis of CBT is to work with a very simple model, that I call the Hot Cross Bun Model, it is simply 4 boxes to record your thoughts, emotions, physical feelings and behaviours with a cross in the middle that shows how they are all interconnected.
This model is often used very early on in therapy to help clients understand this connection, usually taking a clients real life situation and working through it with the therapist.
Through exercises and using certain skills you learn how to change your thinking patterns and your behaviours that can keep you stuck in a distressing or negative place and learn how slight changes in your thoughts and behaviours will give you a different outcome.
This almost makes it sound easy doesn’t it, but if you’ve ever tried to change a habit or stop doing something you’ve always done, or learn something new it can be very hard
Changing your thoughts or behaviours can be hard so working with a therapist can help. The therapist will support and help you perfect your new found skills so you can start to make the changes towards a more contented life.
CBT therapy is usually quite a structured form a therapy
Each week you will work with your therapist to uncover your current thinking styles or behaviours that are contributing to how you feel
.A resource, skill, tool or strategy will be explored together.
Either something that looks at how you can change your thinking style, for example working with a thought record looking at the difference between fact and opinion and how you can re-frame your thoughts.
Or an exercise, such as a behavioural exercise that can look at how you can change a behaviour and gather evidence enabling you to change how you think and behave next time you are in a similar situation.
The therapist will check your understanding of that new tool or strategy.
You will then together set some ‘homework’.
Something that you can practice, to test out your new found skill in the week before your next session
Your therapist and yourself will then review this at your next session.
You may need to practice your new found skills for a few weeks, with the support of your therapist, until you have developed a new way of thinking or behaving that is more helpful to you.
I hope I have helped take away some of the mystery around CBT therapy and you can see that by understanding the relationship between your thoughts feelings and behaviours you can make positive changes in your life and change the way you react to situations.
If the current climate is proving challenging for you Cognitive Behaviour Therapy could be very useful helping you to cope with things better as we live through this ever changing environment.
If you are interested in knowing more then why don’t you give me a call and chat about how we might be able to work together or visit my website for more information
I specialise in working with anxiety and CBT works very well at helping to reduce anxiety.
If anxiety is a particular problem for you then my FREE E-Book UNDERSTANDING ANXIETY- An Essential Guide to Understanding and Managing your anxiety might be useful to you.
In it I also mention the CBT tools and skills that can be useful to you to help you overcome your anxiety.
Laura Knight is a qualified and experienced Counsellor and a registered member of BACP (The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy)
She is an approved Anxiety UK Therapist and has her own private practice SeeClear Counselling, in Poole Dorset.
She can offer face to face, telephone and video counselling sessions
Laura also spent some time working with Dorset Mind delivering education to local employers on how to identify and manage stress at work reducing the impact that work stress can have on peoples every day lives.
Laura found that many of her clients would present with Anxiety and because of this enhanced her training to include CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) as there is evidence to suggest that CBT is effective in the treatment of anxiety and depression.