Is CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) for me?

Is CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) for me?

When was the last time you thought about your own behaviour and said, ‘Not again!’ Maybe you can’t stop doing something you don’t want to do or that you know is bad for you? 

Then CBT could be for you.

It’s popular in the NHS and if you’re looking to do short-term work (6 – 16 weeks) or have a specific problem to address, it can be very effective. 

 

 

 In this post I share more detail on what CBT is and how it could help you…

What is CBT?

Pioneered and popularised by Aaron Beck (1921-2021)1, CBT has utterly transformed the diagnosis and treatment of many psychological disorders. 

‘CBT aims to help you change the way you think (cognitive) and what you do (behaviour). Rather than looking at past causes, it focuses on current problems and practical solutions to help you feel better now2

‘The therapy aims to find practical ways to help you deal with problems in a more positive way by breaking them down into smaller parts3

After finding depressed people often experienced distorted negative ideas, Beck helped his clients to recognise the faulty logic of their ‘automatic thoughts.’ He taught them to think more rationally, reducing their anxiety and improving their mood. 

My clients have found coping strategies to help them deal with problem behaviours, address their defense mechanisms and improve their mental health. By looking at things in small chunks (rather than as one big problem), it’s far easier to change any negative thought patterns and improve how you feel.

Can CBT help me?

As I asked at the start: ‘When was the last time you thought about your own behaviour and said, ‘Please… not again!’

Perhaps there wasn’t a specific action that made you feel this way. Or maybe there was but you weren’t aware of it. Ultimately, we all experience certain behaviours and ways of thinking (cognition), and these can be healthy or unhealthy for us. CBT aims to unpack these thought and behaviour patterns. 

But is it right for you? 

If you’re a regular reader of these blogs, you’ll know I recommend interviewing more than one therapist before deciding who you wish to work with. Likewise, I suggest finding out about the different types of therapy available so you can choose the right modality. Some therapies are better for one thing, others for another. 

CBT is excellent to help you address behaviours around depression, anxiety, stress, phobias, obsessions, addictions, eating disorders and managing long term conditions. As a rule the more specific the problem, the more likely it will help. 

Since 1977 CBT has been recognised as being just as effective in treating depression as medication. It’s now the most practiced therapy in the world, there are 2000 published papers about it and NICE support the use of CBT as a treatment.

CBT takes commitment. But a therapist will help you succeed… 

CBT includes goal setting and homework between sessions. So you must be committed to the process. And while you could choose to engage with CBT online, over email/phone or use recommended self-help books, not everyone can cope with being given direction without face-to-face guidance. 

A positive relationship between you and your therapist can make all the difference, providing encouragement so you can complete your tasks outside the therapeutic hour.

I like to look at each core belief behind the symptoms you present with, separately. From your behaviour and the thoughts behind it, I can help you understand more of what it means to be you, see the richness of who you are, and guide you to find deeper meaning in what you think and feel. 

You may face unresolved difficulties each day. You might find yourself having the same thoughts over and over and find it impossible to separate them. But with CBT the dialogue with your therapist will help you explore how to change your beliefs, thoughts and actions that are holding you back.

To find out more about CBT or how Sweet Mental Health can help you, do sign up for your free 20-minute consultation. You’ll get the chance to ask any questions and I can help you decide whether CBT is right for you. 

Bibliography

1. The Guardian, 2021. ‘Dr Aaron Beck, the father of cognitive behavioural therapy, dies aged 100.’ [Online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/nov/02/dr-aaron-beck-the-father-of-cognitive-behavioural-therapy-dies-aged-100 (Accessed: 18.12.21) 

2. British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 2021. ‘Types of therapy – an A-Z of therapeutic approaches.’ [Online] Available at: https://www.bacp.co.uk/about-therapy/types-of-therapy/ (Accessed: 18.12.21) 

3. Jarvis, S., 2019. ‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – CBT.’ [Online] Available at: https://patient.info/mental-health/cognitive-behavioural-therapy-cbt-leaflet (Accessed: 18.12.21)

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