CBT is a well-researched, evidence based therapy that states that our thoughts and beliefs about particular situations / events have a big impact on our behaviour. To test this for yourself, think of something that you do well. Next, see what goes through your mind when you are asked to do that particular task, how you feel doing it and the outcome. You will notice a positive cycle, with everything moving smoothly.
Now think of a situation where you have to do something that you are not confident about:
- When you realised that you will have to undertake that particular task, how much time did you spend worrying about it?
- What kinds of thoughts went through your mind?
- How helpful were these thoughts?
- What feelings came up for you?
- How confidently did you manage the task?
- Was the outcome as you would have desired?
- What differences do you notice between the 2 scenarios?
CBT helps you to break these vicious cycles and change your thoughts to more constructive ones, which enable you to tackle the challenging tasks more effectively.
It helps you to develop new behaviour patterns that would take you nearer to the desired outcome and develop new skills and abilities. It teaches you to experiment with different behaviours and thoughts to test the actual outcomes for each, in order that you can see for yourself what is possible once you change old habits.
It also helps you to break through a range of unhelpful beliefs that may have been hindering your progress. Although CBT starts by looking at the problem as it affects you in the present, it recognises that some may have their roots in the past. Understanding the origin, amending some of the unhelpful coping strategies you may have developed over the years, breaking repeating patterns, all help to make lasting changes in your life. Most important of all, as you learn new strategies and techniques in therapy, you develop a tool box that will enable you to be your own therapist in the future.
This is a medium to long term therapy, with sessions ranging from 6 –12, depending on the issue, with trauma related difficulties sometimes needing more.
For more information about CBT visit: www.babcp.com