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What is CBT? How can it help me?

What is CBT? How can it help me

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a therapy that can help you manage problems or issues you may be dealing with by changing the way you think and behave. This therapy works by talking to a trained professional who can help you. It is most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression but can be used for other mental and physical health problems too.

How does CBT work?

CBT is based on the idea that your perceptions, emotions, physical responses and behaviours are interconnected and negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious circle. CBT strives to help you deal with devastating obstacles in a more confident way by splitting them down into smaller parts. With CBT, you are taught how to convert these negative patterns to change the way that you feel about a situation. CBT looks for ways to enhance your state of mind on an everyday basis.

What does CBT involve?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy combines two different forms of therapy these include:

Behavioural psychotherapy changes the relationship between triggers and response. A trigger for arachnophobia (fear of spiders), for example, may be the sight or thought of any spider. The response might be increased heart beating, sweating and a desire to run away. Situations such as these can often cause intense difficulties for people. The usual emotional and behavioural reactions people experience in such circumstances can be very frightening. Behaviour therapy works by exposure to trigger situations. Its aim is the increased ability to deal actively with states of unease.

Cognitive psychotherapy allows for the identification of recurrent unhelpful thoughts. It looks for patterns of reasoning and interpretations of reality that connect with the strong and constant emotions experienced by the patient. Helping to reconnect them, enrich them, integrate them with thoughts more functional to their welfare. Cognitive therapy and the various methods of intervention it prescribes lead to a changed way of relating to your thoughts and a resulting decrease in negative symptoms such as anxiety and depression.

counselling - cbt

Therapeutic procedure

CBT therapy helps patients to identify dysfunctional thoughts and to assess how realistic they are: highlighting wrong interpretations and proposing alternative explanations of events. An almost immediate decrease in symptoms is likely. Through a realistic assessment of situations an improvement in mood and behaviour is produced. To achieve a lasting result, however, it is necessary to modify beliefs at the base. This is done via training. Clients learn new skills and beliefs that are more realistic and functional.

Cognitive behavioural therapy acts on:

  • Automatic thoughts (basic level), or on distorted thoughts and images that rapidly and uncontrollably cross the mind.
  • Intermediate beliefs (intermediate level), i.e. dysfunctional opinions, rules, and assumptions.
  • Basic beliefs (deeper level) global, hyper generalised and rigid, learned during childhood and adolescence.

Benefits

Cognitive behavioural therapy is known to be as effective as medication in treating mental health problems, some of the many advantages include:

  • Effectiveness in cases where medicine alone hasn’t worked.
  • Results in a moderately short period of time, especially when compared with other communicating therapies.
  • Development of valuable and realistic strategies that can be used in everyday life. Even after the therapy has finished you will still be able to remember the lessons learnt.

How CBT works

CBT is broken down into five main areas:

  • Situations / Triggers
  • Thoughts
  • Emotions
  • Physical feelings
  • Actions

CBT is based on the idea that these five sectors are interconnected and affect each other. For instance, your thoughts about a certain circumstance can often influence how you feel both physically and emotionally as well as how you act in reply.

We hope that the information above has helped you understand CBT a bit more. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01733 639 040 or schedule a visit.

About the Author Matt

Matt is a trained and licenced Mindfulness teacher and Stress and Anxiety Reduction Counsellor operating in and around the Peterborough area. After overcoming his own stress and anxiety he's found his purpose teaching others to do the same.

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