Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
What Is CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a commonly practiced tool of psychologists that attempts to examine the thinking of a person and its links to how we feel and behave. Energetics Institute offer Perth and internet clients a comprehensive CBT counselling service.
There is a relationship between our thinking and how that affects our behaviour. We learn action tendencies in childhood that we perform consciously and unconsciously and that relates to the inter-dependent relationship between our thinking, our feelings and behaviours. We have more control over our behaviours and our thinking than our feelings and emotions.
With support, we can change the way we think in order to influence the way we feel. We can also change our behaviour to affect our thinking and feelings. The outside circumstances do not need to have changed for these changes to take effect.
CBT can be useful to educate clients about what are the thought processes which are sabotaging them or leading them to a negative outcome of some sort. The therapist and client question and create new positive or realistic thought patterns and practice them so the old thought patterns are controlled and then replaced where necessary.
Understanding how and why a person is behaving or thinking a certain way means a person can begin to create change and progressively have an impact on their own growth and psychological health.
What CBT Techniques Are Used
Many of the issues that a client presents with in counselling or therapy will have all or part of its origins in distorted thinking patterns. CBT allows a person to make these thought patterns conscious, objectively reflect on them, change them if required, and understand how a person’s reactions play a part in how they experience and cope with life.
The insights gained by this CBT approach allows the therapist and client to design new ways to cope with the situation and life, and create a more positive self with thinking that raises self esteem, and builds resiliency via new ways to cope with problematic feelings such as despair, shame or helplessness.
CBT creates a form of conscious awareness in the client which allows them to self-regulate their thoughts and to interrupt emerging negative thought patterns before they take over the person’s operative self. A client identifies negative thoughts and actions may be negative, distorted or self-sabotaging, and then to replace these with more accurate, grounded and positive thoughts and responses.
CBT empowers people to become mindful to their own thoughts, and to explore and test ways of improving their thoughts and thinking towards a better quality of life. If you master your mind then you are then able to shape your reality and master your own mental and physical health.
It is true that we can have a powerful effect on our own lives by learning to understand and control our thinking patterns. Emotional based issues are less suitable to CBT treatment as CBT is a mental orientated treatment approach.
CBT And Its Adaptation
There is an increasing mainstream awareness of positive effects of meditation and mindfulness practices. These can be traced back to the various lineages of Buddhism where both these practices are core to the way in which a person evolves on their psychological and spiritual paths.
When Buddhism became part of the Hippie era of the 1960’s, the experimental behavioural psychology movements started to adopt mindfulness approaches in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as pioneered by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
He taught MBSR and Mindfulness to medical patients to manage their pain and despair by noticing their mind and its distortions, judgements and escapisms. They were taught how to intervene and reduce the stress that arose from the mind “acting out” in this way via the Buddhist approach of witnessing moment-to-moment via a non-judgemental mind what arose, offering compassion for themselves.
The practice of mindfulness shows up in CBT as both are practices that work with one’s mental, here and now state of mind. Dr Jeffrey Young, author of CBT book, The Feeling Good Handbook, states that CBT has a focus that looks at a timeline where the mind states of guilt, regret, shame, resentment, sadness and bitterness are rooted in the past timeframe. The future negative anticipatory feelings which are represented by anxiety, tension, and stress. Neither of these are in present time, which is the only moment open to our control and our direct immediate experience.
CBT teaches us to live in the present moment as this we can control, and from that ability, we can leave the past in the past, and leave the future as a positive or neutral mind of anticipation. Many disorders and named medical and mental conditions can be tackled by CBT. Distorted thinking plays a major role in conditions such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD), depression, anxiety, phobias, personality disorders, panic attacks, eating disorders, and personality disorders such as BPD and NPD.
It is not a panacea to all issues people have. Emotional based disorders respond better to body centric, emotional inclusive therapies which do not just engage the thinking dimension such as is generally the case with CBT.
What CBT Techniques Do We Use
CBT operates along a structured mental/thinking approach that is a directive intervention into the clients thought stream and cognitive thinking processes of the mind.
CBT emphasises through such techniques as “Ten Ways to Untwist Thinking”, in conjunction with mindfulness, how to reside fully in the present and to live our lives in a satisfying and meaningful way.
In this collaborative approach, the therapist and client look at the current state of thinking or an issue linked to their thinking, set a goal around an ideal outcome, and then try new approaches to their thinking and behaviour around that issue based on logic and realism.
The distortions are identified and new practices and thinking implemented which the client is then given to practice and internalise so as to normalise that approach within themselves.
CBT For Anxiety
CBT is effective for dealing with the thinking aspect of Anxiety. Clients are taught with a CBT approach how to intervene in their thought spirals and disarm them before they hijack their mental state and send them into an overwhelm.
Energetics Institute then teach clients how to then apply embodied down-regulation techniques such as deep organic breathing, soft grounding, and such self soothing interventions to return their operative state to within the clients normal window of tolerance for managing themselves.
CBT For Depression
CBT is effective for dealing with the negative moods and associated thinking aspect of Depression. Clients are taught with a CBT approach how to challenge their entrenched negative thinking and link that to their overall pessimism and black mood.
Depressed people carry a lot of unprocessed anger and resentment and so Energetics Institute gets depressed clients to express dynamically their depressed negative self, and then after that emotional discharge, to use a CBT approach to examine the nature of those thoughts and feelings, and to arrive at a more positive and realistic place within themselves.
CBT is then used to reinforce this new realisation and rewire the person towards a more positive and less depressed self.