What sort of therapy do you offer?
I incorporate traditional CBT with recent developments which have extended its scope, including metacognitive therapy, compassion focused therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy and mindfulness.
What is CBT?
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a practical, problem solving approach, based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, actions, physical sensations and environment are all interconnected, so a change in one will lead to a change in the other areas. Most people come into therapy because they are feeling anxious or they are feeling depressed, but it can be quite hard to change our feelings directly.
Cognitive behaviour therapy focuses on:
- Cognition: thoughts & styles of thinking e.g. worrying, dwelling on the past, self-criticism
- Behaviour: what we do, or avoid doing
By identifying what triggers and maintains the problem, we can use a range of techniques to test managing our thoughts and behaviours in a different way.
How does CBT work?
It is important to spend the first 1-3 sessions doing a detailed assessment to develop a clear understanding of what the underlying issues are and what it is keeping the problem going. This helps to clarify what is working for you and what we areas we need to focus on. The assessment and formulation helps identify a range of techniques and strategies which might be useful. Clients are then responsible for testing out strategies and exploring what works best for them. Clients come away with a clear understanding of what the problem is and a range of strategies for how to manage the problem, to use whenever they need it.
“I tried CBT and it didn’t work”
Clearly no therapeutic approach is right for everyone or for every problem, and it is important to have a detailed assessment to establish if CBT is right for you.
An accredited CBT therapist would start with a detailed assessment to develop a formulation (a diagram for you to take away) to identify what triggers the problem and what maintains it, before choosing the most appropriate techniques to manage that specific problem. Unfortunately, there are a number of therapists who “use CBT” but only have a limited number of CBT techniques, which may or may not be appropriate.
It is great that CBT is readily available on the NHS. However, the NHS is not always able to fund the sufficient number of sessions required for CBT to be effective or to provide access to a psychologist who can identify and manage more complex issues.