Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT, is an evidence-based approach to improving mental health. CBT helps you change and challenge any thoughts, attitudes or beliefs that might be unhelpful or harmful. It helps you develop coping strategies that aim to solve issues you have today. While it was originally developed as a method to tackle depression, today it is used for many mental health issues, including anxiety.

 

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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy VS Psychoanalysis

What makes CBT different from psychoanalysis, where the therapist is the one seeking out and identifying the unconscious meaning behind your behaviors, CBT focuses on solving the problems of the here and now. It’s about you taking action. The role of the therapist is to assist, almost like a teacher or coach, in finding and practicing the best approache and strategies to achieve specific goals, alleviate symptoms or change behaviours. CBT is about finding out what is wrong, changing it, and developing new, helpful habits that promote health and wellbeing.

Is CBT Effective?

Peer review studies have found that CBT by itself can be as effective as medication for treating less severe forms of anxiety, depression, PTSD, and various other symptoms including tics, eating disorders, and more. With more severe issues, it’s often still recommended to be used in conjuction with other methods, including medication. 

Cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as interpersonal psychotherapy, have the best-documented efficacy for treatment of major depressive disorder. Why would this work? One theory on the cause of depression, developed by Aaron T. Beck, is that many people develop depression because they have a tendency to negatively interpretate information. 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Anxiety

CBT works for anxiety. The theory is that we are disturbed, not by things, but by the views that we take of them. A client might feel anxious about themselves, they might believe that they are inadequate or unworthy of a position in a company (for example), this could stem from a belief that they are fundamentally inadequate and that they are not smart enough, good enough, efficient enough. Such beliefs or thoughts could stem from their family of origion or from their peer group. Being challenged on such thoughts is key to healing and moving forward. Clients are are encouraged to discover the irrational ideas that motivate such disturbed behaviour, they are challenged to validate their ideas which inturn shows clients how illogical their thinking is.

CBT For Depression

Cognitive behavioural therapy works for depression, sessions can give a person an opportunity to explore and identify life situations that may be causing depression or exacerbating symptoms.  Through the CBT/cognitive beahvioural therapy process clients learn skills that give them ways to identify and explore and challenge irrational thoughts or beliefs that have been learned and are now incorporated in their belief systems. People learn to how to replace such self-sabotaging, irrational or ineffective ways on thinking with effective, logical and rational thoughts and as a result they change their emotional response and reactions to situations. Clients learn how to detect their irrational beliefs, the ‘shoulds’ of life. Clients then explore, debate and challenge their dysfunctional thougths and beliefs. Then clients learn how to discriminate or discern between irrational thoughts and rational thoughts. Albert Ellis is seen as the grandfather of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, after deciding in the 1950s that psychoanalysis was a superficial form of therapy he experimented with other types. He combined humanistic, philosophical and behavioural therapy. He was a nervous teenager with a fear of girls and public speaking, he, through the use of thought, managed to desensitise himself to overwhelming feelings of anxiety. He saw that by applying CBT he managed to conquer and overcome some of his worst blocks. 

 

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