CBT is a systemic approach to help people to feel better, whether this means waking up without depression, managing to leave the house without experiencing crippling anxiety, or performing effectively in a stressful situation. This is achieved through exploration of thinking and behavioral experimentation.
One way to describe how CBT works is using the ‘A B C’ model: ‘A’ is an activating event; for example your friend is late to visit you. ‘B’ is your belief set; for example, you might think something small has happened to delay your friend, in which case the ‘C’; consequence, is that you are mildly concerned.
With exactly the same ‘A’ event; your pal is late, your beliefs ( B) are that there’s been a catastrophic accident, or that your friend doesn’t care and has forgotten, then you might worry or feel very sad. In this way we can see that what influences how you feel is your belief system rather than the actual event taking place.
This is true across all situations, and CBT helps you to weigh up evidence and develop more balanced ways of thinking which results in holding more realistic views. Then you will feel more in control of your feelings, thoughts and behaviours.
Absolutely vital to success in making changes using CBT is a collaborative approach.
You will not feel ‘done to’, but will aquire skills to manage your own thoughts, behavours and feelings.
A key feature of the CBT approach is the behavioural aspect which is based largely on experiments. We design these during sessions in order to test thoughts and assumptions you have about yourself, the world, and others. These can take place during sessions or more commonly in the real world. Experiments might range from finding out how others feel about certain situations, to experiencing something, and then noting associated thoughts, behaviours, body sensations and feelings. We will then discuss our findings at the beginning of a session, whether the task has been completed in full or in part.
I offer handouts during sessions in order to help you remember what you planned to do.
This systemic CBT approach leads to development of skills where any environment or situation can be approached in a flexible and calm way, so that you gain optimum achievement and satisfaction from whatever lifestyle you choose. The tools and strategies gained during the CBT will transfer across all situations and will be available to you for the rest of your life.