Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, (CBT), is a talking therapy developed by Aaron Beck (Psychiatrist). This type of talking therapy was initially developed as a way of understanding depression and latterly anxiety. CBT focuses on the relationship between our thoughts (beliefs), how we think and what we think; our emotions/feelings and our behaviour. CBT takes into account how our distress and anxiety can influence our physiological body which in turn can effect what we think or believe.
When feelings are difficult, upsetting or overwhelming, it can be hard to understand why. Learning how to attend to our thinking and our beliefs, gives us the opportunity to look at them in a more considered way, to even challenge the thoughts and beliefs we have become used to having and which may result in feelings of upset or discomfort.
In addition, looking at how we behave as a result of what we are thinking and how we are feeling can lead to change. Recognising what is not helpful, not seeing friends, avoiding situations opens up opportunities to identifying new ways of doing things. Behaving in a new way may result in us feeling better or at least different. Or allow us to do more of what is helping already.
The way our mind works can also affect our bodies. It is a very physical experience to suffer from anxiety for example. It can be very frightening if it feels as if our bodies are not behaving as they should, changes in our bodies can lead to us questioning or thinking that we are 'out of control', or 'unable to cope' with what is happening. A vicious cycle of thoughts, feelings, behaviour and physical symptoms can develop over time if things have been the same over days, months and even years. It can feel impossible to break this cycle alone.
Starting therapy is the first step to effecting change
Who Can CBT Help?
CBT is an evidence based treatment and is recommended by The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE). NICE recommend that CBT could be used to treat:
*depression *anxiety *low mood *OCD *PTSD *health anxiety *social anxiety *specific phobias *excessive worrying *perfectionism *low confidence and *low self esteem.
What Happens in Sessions?
Initial Assessment and one to one therapy.
Your needs will be assessed in an initial session. The initial assessment could last an hour and a half.
I will use clinical tools to assess your difficulties as well as asking you lots of questions about your life (current and historical), how you are feeling now, if things have been difficult before and what has made things feel better in the past.
It is really important for me to assess any risks there may be with reference to yourself or someone else. I have a duty of care to make sure that everyone I see is in a safe place and if there are any risks, that they are managed properly.
Usually people are anxious coming to their first therapy session. That is completely normal and I understand how much courage it takes to take the first step.
I will give you an idea of how many sessions you could need at the initial assessment. However, this will not be set in stone. It may be that you require less sessions, or you may need slightly more. I work very collaboratively and generally things become clearer as we go along. CBT is a short term therapy. I am not going to advise you to have more sessions than you absolutely need! Each session after the initial assessment should last for about an hour.
CBT is not always for everyone. If I feel your needs would be better met by another service, I will let you know and give you information on where to go next. The initial assessment is to establish what is best for you, there are other talking therapies which are more suitable in some cases.