CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) may sound like an induction process for the Starship Enterprise, but thankfully that couldn’t be further from the truth. It is a problem-focused therapy that has been rapidly gaining in popularity over the past 10 years. It’s very easy to grasp and is also evidence-based, which means the strategies are proven to work.
Pioneered by Dr. Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s, CBT is now recommended by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE, 2009) as a highly effective treatment for a wide variety of disorders – everything from depression to anxiety, to insomnia to OCD.
The fundamental belief CBT is based on is…* drum roll noise*…that it’s not the events themselves that affect you – it’s how you interpret them. The meanings that you give situations affect how you feel emotionally which in turn affects how you behave, think and act. Your thoughts, behaviour, physicality and mood are all connected and influence each other so if you’re feeling low or insecure it’ll have a knock-on effect. For example, say you see John walking across the street. You wave. He doesn’t. This is what happens next:
Thought: He ignored me!
Physicality: Racing heart, slumped shoulders etc.
Mood: Sad, angry, nervous
Behaviour: Ignore John next time you see him
How you interpret something will set off a chain of feelings and events. CBT will teach you how to identify and interrupt these negative patterns so this happens instead:
Thought: John must not be wearing his glasses
Behaviour: Make sure you say hello directly when you next see him
Substantial research backs up how brilliant CBT is. It’s been suggested that one of the main reasons it’s so successful and people stick to it is because it’s giving you control in situations that otherwise feel very out of control. After all, you’re the expert on yourself, right? CBT teaches you the skills to manage your problems so you can become your own therapist.
CBT is all about how to feel better NOW no matter what’s happened to you in your past. Whatever you’ve been through these strategies will help. It’s also time efficient: treatment doesn’t last years and years. You can feel better in a matter of weeks if you really throw yourself into it, which is handy as we’re pretty sure you’d like to feel better as soon as possible. You’ll be able to see and experience genuine results from the skills and techniques you’ll be taught and these tools will last a lifetime so they’re always there to fall back on whenever you need them. Find out more about CBT and download your own Mind Map to get started here.