Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

What Is CBT ?

Everyone goes through times in their lives when things seem to be going wrong -- it may be that a relationship has broken up, work is difficult when relations with managers are difficult, family members have problems or maybe you have been involved in an accident. It is easy to think that the fault lies with someone in particular, or even with yourself. It is so easy to get pulled into a spiral of negative or automatic thoughts about yourself, others, or the world in general. This way of thinking does not produce solutions but only drags you further into a black hole. You can end up feeling depressed, hopeless and physically and mentally exhausted. Worse, you can find yourself dwelling on situations, feeling pity for yourself and eventually you isolate yourself from others. This is not unusual -- it happens to all of us sometimes. 

Solutions to these problems can come from CBT, "Cognitive Behavioural Therapy". This kind of therapy does not dwell on the problems in your past which you cannot change, but rather focuses on your present problems and difficulties to enable you to work around them and think about them differently. This turns problems into opportunities. You can feel pleasure at having overcome them successfully, giving you a real sense of achievement.

CBT begins with the core idea that our thought processes affect the way we feel and the way we respond to situations. Often you can change the way you think by looking at the evidence and challenging your unhelpful ways of thinking. This is a challenge but it's worth it because you come out feeling accomplished and positive.

 

In order to feel better it is important to change your thinking but also to change your behaviour -- for example, instead of avoiding frightening situations, you face them. The more you do this, the better equipped you are to face new challenges. You develop confidence and resilience, learning new skills.  

In CBT, the fundamental concept is the idea of core beliefs -- the beliefs that are fundamental to the ways we perceive ourselves, others, and the world.  They are often irrational and may originate in early childhood. They do not necessarily need to have origins in trauma or in invalidating environments, but simply as children, we tend to develop rather fixed impressions that can last throughout life if they are not challenged.

Uses For CBT

CBT has been shown to be an effective way of treating a number of different mental health conditions.

In addition to depression or anxiety disorders, CBT can also help people with:

  • bipolar disorder

  • borderline personality disorder

  • eating disorders – such as anorexia and bulimia

  • obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

  • panic disorder

  • phobias

  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • psychosis

  • schizophrenia

  • sleep problems – such as insomnia

  • problems related to alcohol misuse

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