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  • Writer's picturekirstiewright

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?

Updated: Jan 4

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is the main type of therapy we use at Creatives in Mind and is the recommended treatment for a range of difficulties. It involves the following:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) involves developing your goals for therapy, this allows the therapy to be tailored to what you want to achieve.

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) involves developing an understanding of thoughts, feelings and behaviours in relation to your goal.

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) involves developing an understanding of what thoughts, feeling and behaviours are maintaining your distress so we can change this.

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) involves practicing techniques in between sessions.

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) involves planning how to keep everything you have learnt during therapy going after sessions have ended.

Merely attending Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT) sessions is unlikely to be enough to reach your goals. It is also the changes you make following the discussions and practices that occur within Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) sessions that will help you to reach your goal. The changes you make and coping strategies that you apply to your life outside of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) will ensure that you reach your goals outside of the therapy room.

We cannot read your mind (despite this misconception!), we therefore discuss the difficulties you are experiencing so we can gain an understanding of your experience to help you reach your goals using our knowledge of evidence based psychological models.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is collaborative and involves both the therapist and yourself sharing ideas as you know yourself best and the therapist/psychologist has been trained in techniques that help maintain wellbeing. So when you work together, this is where the best techniques tailored to to you will transform your life. You only share as much or as little as you feel comfortable with and we only work on what you would like to. It does not involve lying on a couch.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy does not always feel comfortable. This is a good thing! Facing fears and discussing difficulties often evokes difficult feelings, but this allows you to look at the difficult feelings that are preventing you from reaching your goals. This in turn means that together we can look at how to manage the feelings that have been holding you back.

What can Cognitive Behavioural Therapy help with?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is useful for anyone who is experiencing distress in relation to not being able to reach a goal. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is the recommended treatment for depression, worry, social anxiety disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, claustrophobia, Panic Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ,specific phobias health anxiety, body dysmorphic disorder, distress in relation to long term health conditions, and work related stress. Therapy can also be a useful space when we are not feeling distressed to reflect on how we manage distressing emotions (which are a normal part of life) and can help keep us on track in relation to our goals.

The basics of CBT

CBT is based on the theory that it is how we interpret situations that affect how we feel and what we do. Therefore, if we want to change the way we feel we need to make changes to our thinking processes and what we do.

An example of how this works can be found below:

Event Friend walks past me in the street.

Interpretation I must have done something to upset them.

Feelings Anxious, sad

Behaviours Worry, dwell on friend not saying hi, don’t do what originally was planned for the day.

Event Friend walks past me in the street.

Interpretation They must not have seen me.

Feelings No changes in feeling

Behaviour Continue with my day

As we can see from above its all about the interpretation. In the first example we personalise someone else’s actions, whereas in the second example we understand our friend’s behaviour looking at other reasons they walked past us that do not directly relate to us. This leads to a different feeling being experienced and in turn different behaviour.

We tend to listen to our thoughts and take them to be true rather than as opinions based on past experiences. CBT can help identify the thoughts driving your distress as well as look at what led them to be there and help understand the process behind these thoughts.

Please note that although thoughts are a key part of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). It does not always mean our thoughts are inaccurate. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) involves learning how to spot when they are not accurate and not helping us. It is different to just thinking positively. When negative events are happening iits important to validate negative thoughts and feelings. Your therapist will help you do this.

Vicious Cycles

A central part of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is that negative thoughts lead to negative emotions which may lead to behaviours that contribute to negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours and the cycle continues.

An example is that if I experience a breakup I may have lots of negative thoughts including, ‘I’m worthless’ and ‘unlovable’. This leads to me feeling sad and heavy. I then feel lacking in motivation to do everyday tasks. I therefore stop exercising and seeing friends. Short term this gives me a sense of relief as I don’t do the activities that I didn’t feel up to doing. Later I start to experience more negative thoughts that include the following ‘ I’m such a bad friend, I cant even do the dishes I must be useless’. I then feel more tired, heavy and lacking in motivation and the cycle continues. I also do not get the sense of achievement and pleasure from doing day to day task and seeing friends that lessens my chance of experiencing positive emotions.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help us identify the negative cycles that we are in and how to break them. This also means that if you notice the cycles happening again in the future after therapy has ended you will have the tools to break the cycle before it starts.

If you would like to enquire about CBT or would like to know if it would be able to help you please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Creatives in Mind.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy


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