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Is CBT right for me?

Have you wondered if CBT is the right therapy for you?

Are you a little confused about what CBT actually is?

If so , then read on, this blog is for you.

CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) is a highly evidence-based treatment (meaning there have been numerous studies, trials and analysis of these to ensure their effectiveness), used to treat conditions like depression and an array of anxiety disorders, such as GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder), OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), Social Phobia, Health Anxiety & Specific Phobias.

In CBT we look at thoughts (cognition's), behaviours (what we do, based on those thoughts), and the emotions that are produced as a result of these. By looking closely at these we will often see a pattern has emerged; for instance, I have the thought 'I don't want to go out today', the behaviour may be to stay home, the emotion may be relief, 'phew I don't have to go anywhere'. For some, on a day off, this example may be perfectly okay, maybe recognition that you need a day of rest, you might have recognised your tired or have been on the go all week and what you need today is some time at home to recuperate. This is an example of a normal cycle.

For some, however, this same thought may be getting in the way of living a fulfilled life; it might be getting in the way of education, or socialising, presence in the workplace, attending important appointments or dropping children off at school etc. In this instance, what’s happening is an unhealthy cycle is beginning to occur. With a CBT therapist this example would be looked at more closely to consider the following:

  • Other thoughts that might be occurring

  • Additional behaviours or avoidances (known as safety behaviours)

  • What follows the initial relief (usually a feeling of failure, resulting in further low mood)

  • What thoughts come next (e.g., I am always going to be this way, I don't think I will ever get back to how I used to be/would like to be')

  • What behaviour this then leads to (possibly further withdrawal, avoidance of contact form others)

  • How this impacts feelings

  • What thoughts this then lead to... and so on, until we have a really clear picture.

From there we would likely look at triggers, (what starts the problem off), things that make the problem worse, and factors that keep the problem going. Often this can involve someone close to you, no one wants to see someone they care about suffer and so a common response can be to try and alleviate that by offering to do the shopping or to collect the children etc. These offers are, of course, coming from a place of kindness, however they feed into the problem, reinforcing the belief that you are unable to go out.

Another example of a thought pattern may be:

And that’s just one example of the kind of work we do in CBT. Looking to break cycles in order to achieve different, more helpful, healthier, outcomes.

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