Cognitive behavioural therapy, also known as CBT, is a talking therapy that focuses on how your thoughts and actions influence one another.
The premise behind CBT is that our thoughts and behaviours have an effect on each other, and by changing the way we think and behave we can ultimately change the way we feel about life.
The therapy examines learnt behaviours and negative thought patterns with the view of altering them in a positive way.
We all have some negative thought patterns of which we aren’t aware. They often stem from childhood and are so ingrained within us we never question them.
For example, if we had a strict upbringing and our parents withheld affection from us unless we behaved in a certain way, we often grow up tell ourselves that we ‘should’ be doing something that way and if we don’t we are ‘wrong’ and guilty’. Eventually we automatically begin to feel we are ‘wrong’ all the time.
CBT aims to explain how automatic thoughts occur and helps you to consider and practice new ways of thinking until eventually these become automatic.
While past events and experiences and the relationship between therapist and client, are considered during the therapy, CBT unlike psychodynamic therapy, is rooted in the present and the focus is more on current issues and dilemmas.
The practical, solution focused nature of CBT is particularly helpful for those with specific issues such as eating disorders, phobias, insomnia and OCD.
It may also be useful for long-standing health problems such as chronic pain or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). While the therapy cannot cure such physical ailments, it can help clients cope emotionally with their condition and lower stress levels.
*Although not a medical ‘cure’. Integrated treatments of CBT and Reiki have proven popular in managing pain relief.