What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?
CBT is a talking therapy that provides treatment to a wide range of mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety symptoms including panic attacks and agoraphobia, stress, excessive worry – also known as Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), social anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), low self esteem, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
CBT is based on how we perceive/interpret situations which influence our thoughts, feelings, what we do, and how we feel in our bodies which are all interconnected and making a change to one of these can alter all the other components. If we are feeling low, anxious or stressed we can experience an overload of negative automatic thoughts and patterns of unhelpful thinking styles which influences our behaviours and we tend to behave in ways that can lead to worsening of how we feel in ourselves.
Often, people engage in unhelpful behaviours because they may not be aware or have knowledge at that time that these behaviours are perhaps maintaining their problems. CBT works to help us understand how we are thinking and feeling and discover if there are any behaviour patterns that can be changed to help with feeling better.
A comprehensive mental health assessment is conducted in the initial stages of treatment whereby we explore the person’s presenting needs and determine if CBT is the best treatment intervention for that person and, if not, we would decide on the best way forward for the person in terms of what supports are needed to help with their presenting problems.
CBT is mostly present focused although we do have to go back and explore the past in order to make sense of how the persons current difficulties are potentially related to things which have happened in their past. This helps with giving both myself and my client a good understanding of what may be contributing to their presenting issues. The ultimate aim is for an understanding of the persons presenting problems to be formulated together and an action plan is carefully created in a collaborative fashion as to what work the person needs to do in between our sessions to move forward in treatment in accordance with their therapy goals. The work carried out by the client in between our sessions is a significant part of CBT treatment as the aim at the end of treatment is for the client to become their own therapist in terms of having coping skills to manage potential stressful life situations in the future. CBT can be a very effective approach with helping people to develop coping strategies to help manage their difficulties and improve their functioning and mental health. The amount of CBT sessions a person needs varies for each individual presentation. It is a collaborative approach that is goal orientated and time limited.
My aim as a CBT therapist is to work with people at their pace and to provide a holistic person-centred approach and build therapeutic and trusting relationships with my clients. I am extremely passionate about my work as a CBT therapist and I really love what I do! My favourite part of this job is seeing clients get better and knowing that you have helped someone get back doing what they want to do and have a better quality of life and well-being.
– Sharon Clernon
Mindview Clinic – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
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