What is CBT?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a structured form of talking therapy. It has shown to be effective for a wide range of problems, particularly helping people who suffer from mild to moderate depression and anxiety based disorders and is recommended by the Department of Health and the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE).

CBT is a form of therapy that aims to address how your problems are affecting you in the here-and-now. It involves developing an understanding of how our thoughts, feelings and behaviours interact with each other in the development and maintenance of our problems. So for example, when people are depressed they are more likely to view aspects of their life in a negative way. This negative viewpoint can lead them to feeling worse and changing their behaviour in an attempt to make them feel better or prevent feeling worse. However these changes of behaviour may actually reinforce or worsen their problems (e.g. drinking excessively to try to make a person feel better can actually result in the person feeling worse).

Once we have developed an understanding as to how our thoughts, feelings and behaviours are maintaining our distress, CBT aims to help find alternative, more constructive ways of thinking about particular situations and issues. It also helps us to look at our behaviours and where appropriate change our behavioural patterns so that we do not find ourselves going around in circles that worsen our problems.

What is Counselling?

Some people may find CBT too structured and directive and may prefer to have counselling to explore and understand themselves, their relationship with others and their view of the world. There are different types of counselling.

My approach is integrative. This is a form of talking therapy that involves the fusion of
different schools of psychotherapy where different theories form one combined approach to theory and practice. For those who are familiar with schools of psychotherapy, the approaches I integrate in my counselling practice are psychodynamic, existential, transactional analysis and person centred. It is like having a large toolbox from which I can select the right tool for each person’s specific needs, taking into account the nature of their problem.

When appropriate I also integrate CBT into my counselling practice as it can provide the framework or ‘scaffold’ for understanding clients problems and maintenance cycles (how they get stuck) making it easier to find ways to break those negative cycles and replace them with nurturing ones. I find this flexible approach allows me to take the ‘best bits’ (in my opinion) of various forms of psychotherapy rather than getting bogged down in some obscure theories that are hard for some therapists and clients to understand and apply.

Next Steps…

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