Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Psychosocial support & Trauma therapy (EMDR)
The Philosophy of CBT.
CBT is a scientifically supported learning theory based on the assumption that most behaviours and emotions are learnt, sometimes stemming from our childhood experiences. CBT is based on what we think (our thoughts) affects the way we feel about situations or events. How we feel about these situations affects and influences our behaviour, and our approach to them. Our behaviour to the situation creates an impact resulting in the consequences of that behaviour. If these thoughts, feelings and behaviours are negative; this results in a negative consequence thereby creating a vicious cycle or pattern of negative thinking, that can often spiral out of control. CBT is supported by a wide body of research based evidence in being highly effective in treating a wide range of psychological problems.
How Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) evolved.
The cognitive therapy approach was developed by Aaron T. Beck in the early 1960's but only recognised in the 1970's as the 'cognitive revolution' took hold bringing about empirical grounded theory. The cognitive principle is how people's thinking, their beliefs and interpretations of situations affect their emotional reactions, put simply, individuals react with different emotions to the same event; therefore there is something other than the event that accounts for differences in reaction to the same event. Cognition is how the event is interpreted and what the interpretations mean in our environment/situation, this gives rise to emotions, which affects the way we feel; behaviour considers how we respond to our feelings, resulting in consequences. CBT promotes the evidence that unless people begin to change the way they think about things and process difficult information appropriately, it will not impact positively on their behaviour.
The components - cognition (thinking), psychological feeling (emotion), behaviour and physiology - interact with each other in a 'feedback process' involving the environment around the event or the individual. Cognitive or behavioural aspects of therapy can be approached in different ways depending on the condition being treated. For example, behavioural therapy is the main focus when treating conditions such as obsessive compulsive disorder. However when treating eating disorders or depression, the focus is on changing the cognitions (the way we think about things). In general, CBT helps us deal with what is happening in the 'here' and 'now' rather than past events, although previous experiences are important to how our mind has processed and shaped information during childhood, these experiences leave an impression on our minds which influences how we think, feel and behave.
The therapeutic techniques vary within the different approaches of CBT according to the particular kind of problem or issues, but commonly may include keeping a diary of significant events and associated feelings, thoughts and behaviours; questioning and testing cognitions, assumptions, evaluations and beliefs that might be unhelpful and unrealistic. This will help in gradually facing activities which may have been avoided; and trying out new ways of behaving and reacting. Relaxation, mindfulness and distraction techniques are also commonly included.
As CBT does not suit everyone an alternative approach is to use person centred psychosocial support to help the individual overcome their problems. I originally trained as a registered mental health nurse (RMN), using person centred psychosocial interventions was a cornerstone of the training and the work I did with individuals. I have over 30 years of experience of working with people with a variety of mental health problems as well as being an accredited CBT Psychotherapist.
A person centred psychosocial approach aims to help you deal with and overcome issues that are causing emotional pain, making you feel uncomfortable or causing you difficulties in your life. It can help you get your life back on track, regain your confidence, help you refocus and give you hope for the future. During the sessions you will be encouraged to express your feelings and emotions. By discussing your concerns with you, I can help you gain a better understanding of your feelings and thought processes, as well as helping you identify solutions to your problems. It can be a great relief to share your worries and fears with someone who acknowledges your feelings and is able to help you reach a positive solution.
EMDR therapy is an extensively researched integrative psychotherapy approach that has been proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is made up of various elements taken from different treatment approaches and developed into a set of standardized protocols. EMDR therapy has offered relieve from different types of psychological stress for people of all ages.