Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?
CBT is a style of brief counselling and psychotherapy that has brought a fresh approach to the field. Earlier therapy approaches focuses at length on the early childhood experiences that may be the precursors of current day challenges. CBT brings the focus of therapy to the here and now and towards the future, and involves a collaborative relationship between client and therapist.
CBT is based on the idea that psychological distress is largely a function of disturbances in cognitive processes. CBT focuses on challenging self defeating and/or irrational beliefs and works on examining and changing behaviour that may be causing difficulties for a person. Whilst it does not disregard feelings, it focuses more on thoughts and behaviours as the way to address difficulties.
CBT is therefore a "doing" therapy where a person examines they way they think and how they interact with the world around them, and helps them decide what works for them, and what they might like to change, and how they could go about it. It addresses long term ineffective habits, and thought processes and through awareness of these and practice of new behaviours through coaching and homework, helps a person find a fresh approach to dealing with a difficult issue.
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What are some simple examples that help me understand CBT ?
For example: If you have mistakenly come to believe that you must do everything perfectly, you may have problems with procrastination and appear to be slow or inefficient. Your beliefs may also generate a considerable amount of anxiety. It is possible you may not even be aware of how you are being hampered by this perfectionistic belief. Therapy may assist you to become aware of this, and help you use a goal oriented approach to be more efficient in tasks, and deal in new ways with anxiety.
For example: If you desire to be liked by others all the time, you may create a life being continually exhausted from the efforts of pleasing everyone else, and never feel satisfied as your deeper yearnings go neglected. You may swing from exhaustion to resentment as a result of efforts to please other people. It is very possible that early childhood experiences may have encouraged this pattern. A CBT approach would assist you to examine the belief that you must be liked by others all the time and help you understand the impact this belief is having on your behaviour and your life. CBT would assist you to develop newer ways of operating that would be more self determined and in line with your own values and goals.
Who can it help?
CBT has been well researched and shown to be effective for a wide range of psychological problems, including anxiety, depression and panic as well as for dealing with a range of situational challenges and life transitions.
Why is CBT appealing?
CBT is a time limited and educational form of counselling, targeting specific problems. As a very active part of the psychotherapeutic process both during and outside of the sessions, the client is expected to complete homework and work on implementing structured strategies to assist in changes in thinking patterns.
Recently a group of psychology students commented that CBT was appealing as they liked the idea that the flaw was in their 'thinking' and changeable, rather than in their personality.
Who uses CBT at the Delta Centre?
All therapists at the centre have training and experience in CBT. Most of the therapists would use it as a regular part of their therapeutic approach.
Change your Thinking Sarah Edelman, ABC Books 2002 Theory and Practice of Counselling and Psychotherapy Corey, Thomson Brooks/Cole (2005)