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Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 9 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is a combination of both behavioural therapy and psychotherapy. It focuses on psychotherapy related issues such as how we place importance on the personal meaning we put on things and how our thinking patterns are conceived from childhood. In addition, it also focuses on the behavioural aspects in terms of our relationship between our problems, thoughts and how we react as a result of experiencing them.

What Is The Aim Of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy?

The aim of cognitive behaviour therapy is to change your beliefs, attitudes and the preconceived ideas you hold in certain areas which result in you experiencing emotional difficulties and replacing them with better solutions.

Advantages

One of the main advantages of CBT over other forms of therapy is that it has a tendency to be short, taking an hour or so long session each week for about 3 to 6 months. In this time, the therapist and client work towards understanding what the problems are and the therapist will discuss new strategies for tackling them.

What Kinds Of Problems Can It Help To Solve?

Cognitive behaviour therapy can help people overcome a number of different emotional difficulties they may be faced with. These can include but are not limited to:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Drug or alcohol dependency
  • Relationship problems
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Problems with making friends

An Example

Depression is a common illness which cognitive behaviour therapy can help to overcome in some cases. A good example might be where someone who is depressed may wake up and think that they can’t face the thought of going into work and that it’s not worth making the effort as everything will go wrong if they do go in.

Therefore, they ring in sick. After that, they become even more despondent and depressed as they start to think of themselves as a failure and that they’ve let all their colleagues down. This can then fester into them telling themselves that they’re useless and weak and so they enter into a downward spiral.

With cognitive behaviour therapy, however, a therapist would talk through each stage of this situation to test out and examine if what the client believed throughout each stage was true. In other words, they’d be questioning the beliefs that the client had. For example, they may start by questioning why the client felt everything would go wrong if they had made the effort to go into work because the client has clearly made an assumption there that they’d have no way of validating.

In essence, what the therapist is trying to do here is to get the person to open up in order to examine the thoughts which are leading to them experiencing emotional problems or worries with the aim of teaching them ways in which they can cope with them in a different and far more beneficial and productive way.

Goal Setting And Homework

In addition to meeting with the therapist each week, goals will be set and a therapist will usually expect you to keep a record of specific incidents which have provoked the feelings you’re finding it difficult to come to terms with. By doing that the goal is to suggest new ways and solutions for coping with a similar problem next time which can be discussed and agreed to.

As you learn how to cope with situations in alternative and better ways, so you begin to regain confidence and self-esteem as you start to change your belief system and principles which you can then apply to other problems you might encounter in the future.

Cognitive behaviour therapy is usually given on a one-to-one basis. However, there are also group therapy sessions available. Some clients find that being able to share their problems with others who have similar problems of their own offers them valuable support and helps them to understand that they aren’t the only person who finds life difficult to cope with sometimes.

In reality, it’s about replacing people’s old belief systems and behavioural patterns that have never worked with new ones that do.

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