What is CBT?
CBT stands for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Cognition is about how we think. CBT is based on the straight forward idea that how we think about ourselves, other people and the world affects how we feel and how we act. In turn, our behaviours influence how we think about the world and can keep unhelpful thinking patterns going.
This can result in problems such as stress, lack of confidence, lack of assertiveness, depression, anxiety or relationship problems.
CBT therapists work collaboratively with clients to determine goals for therapy and then develop a shared understanding of the patterns of thinking, feeling and acting that are keeping us stuck. Once we have a good understanding of what is keeping the problems going, we can apply CBT skills to start doing things differently and developing new and more helpful perspectives and patterns of thinking, feeling and acting.
CBT is an active and practical therapy and involves trying out new things in between sessions. This might include keeping a record of your thoughts, actively looking at evidence for and against your thoughts, considering who or what inspires us and how we might want to do things differently, putting your thoughts to the test by doing something differently or getting the perspectives of other people to help find new ways of seeing things. In the course of CBT, often clients themselves find quite unique ways of trying things out that work for them and the creativity and ingenuity of my clients never ceases to inspire me.
My goal as a therapist is to enable you to become your own therapist and make myself redundant. I hope that after a course of therapy, you will be able to maintain the progress you have made and apply the CBT skills to new problems you might face in the future.
What is CBT helpful for?
CBT has proved successful in many randomised controlled trials (the gold standard for determining how effective a treatment is). It is recommended by NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) for depression, agoraphobia, generalised anxiety disorder, OCD, bulimia, binge eating disorder, PTSD, depression, coping with long term conditions, psychosis and personality disorders (amongst others).
CBT can also be used to help with many non-clinical problems such as lack of confidence, low self-esteem, performance anxiety, perfectionism, relationship problems, weight and lifestyle management. I have found CBT invaluable in enabling me to sustain a healthy lifestyle, enjoy good relationships, participate in sports and manage a demanding job within the NHS whilst also maintaining my enthusiasm and compassion.