What is CBT?

The word ‘Cognitive’ in CBT refers to the thoughts, beliefs and interpretations that people have about themselves or the situations they may find themselves in i.e. the meaning a person gives to events in their lives.

People react differently to different situations and events which is due to their different interpretations:

e.g. If a person meets someone they know in the street but the person ignores them, there can be many different interpretations of this event such as:

‘She may not have her glasses on – she hasn’t seen me’
‘She is so rude, ignoring me like that’
‘I am so boring, it’s no wonder she doesn’t want to talk to me’
‘She seems preoccupied – I hope she’s OK’

Each of these interpretations can lead to the person experiencing a different emotion affecting their mood i.e. anger, depression, concern which in turn causes physiological changes in our bodies such as muscle tension, heart pounding, sweating, headaches and many more.

Depending on a person’s interpretation of an event, different negative emotions can therefore cause the person to behave in a different way i.e. avoid situations, criticise yourself/others, please others, enter into a conflict, comfort eat etc.

During the course of CBT treatment, your therapist will help you to identify and change destructive thought patterns that have a negative influence on your behaviour. Once the thoughts are re-examined and alternatives are found, the focus shifts to the behaviours. Again your therapist can use techniques, which can help you to change behaviour patterns, which are unhealthy.

The goal of CBT is to teach you that while you cannot control every aspect of your life, you can take control of how you interpret and deal with situations in which you may find yourself.

CBT HAS A MOTTO:

THOUGHTS ARE OPINIONS, NOT FACTS

Most of the time, we do not question the thoughts we have, assuming they are plausible and accurate. In CBT, you are taught to examine such thoughts, which are causing unhelpful emotions, to see how accurate they actually are. Because of the immediate effect on your emotions and subsequently your behaviour, such negative automatic thoughts are examined early in therapy.

What is Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy?

 

“The mind has its own agenda. On automatic pilot, old habits of mind set the agenda and can take us places we might not choose to go’. (Williams, M).

Anyone who experiences emotional problems that will not go away, can feel despair and hopeless.  Whether it is depression, anxiety, stress or worry, our lives can be disrupted and leave us feeling powerless.

In therapy, we can teach you new skills which empower you to take back control of your emotional difficulties and quieten down that harsh, judgemental, self critical voice which can seem overwhelming and have a profound effect on your daily functioning.

Mindfulness involves paying attention to each event experienced in the present moment within our body and mind, in an non-judgmental, non-reactive and accepting way.

In learning to be mindful, we can begin to counter many of our everyday sufferings such as stress, anxiety and depression because we are learning to experience events in a more impersonal and detached way. Mindfulness used in mindfulness based cognitive therapy focusses on seeing things as they are in the now/the present.

Benefits of mindfulness training include increases in concentration, productivity, physical and psychological resilience and the ability to respond skillfully to stressful situations. Meditation is also effective in decreasing depression, physical pain, emotional reactivity, and the reliance on unhealthy coping behaviors.

There has been widespread research on the effects of Mindfulness, both medical and psychological.  It is now acknowledged as an extremely effective practice, in addition to the standard methods used in therapy.