What is CBT?
CBT Therapy aims to help you to identify what is maintaining your difficulties and help you to find ways to make specific changes in order to stop unhelpful cycles and patterns of behaviours. The way that we explore problems in CBT is by looking in detail at what the problem is. We devise a ‘formulation’ by identifying patterns of thoughts, feelings, behaviours and how your body reacts physically. We identify triggers and what makes it worse or better, and once we have all of this information we can start to see where we can target to help you make changes. Here’s an example of an initial brief formulation of a specific situation:-
In this example we can see that the Thursday meeting is a situation where this person feels anxious when asked a question by a colleague. However, the reason why he finds this situation incredibly difficult is because he also fears being judged to be useless, and he judges himself to be useless when he assesses his performance afterwards and sees failings.
In a further exploration of what happens, we would break down the situation further into before, during and after, to see the behaviours, thoughts and feelings that this person feels trapped in:-
In our sessions we would incorporate strategies for managing apprehension, worry and anxiety, along with work on the underlying beliefs that drive the anxiety; in this example this is the belief “I’m useless”.
CBT is an ‘active’ therapy in that we work together on what the person is currently experiencing. This can often be misinterpreted as CBT ‘not looking at the past’. But this is not the case. In the above example, the client and I would look at the critical events that led to his underlying core belief of “I’m useless”. We would work with the aim of this not continuing to have the power that it currently has over him, and to develop other ways of seeing himself too.
I am a BABCP Accredited CBT Psychotherapist.
The following are some good links for finding out a bit more about CBT, but you can also email me if you have any queries.