What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic framework based on the notion that our thoughts (or cognitions) influence our emotions and actions (or behaviours). In CBT, the goal is to identify unhelpful thoughts and behaviours. By gaining insight into the relationship between these processes, we become more capable of replacing negative processes with more helpful ones.
CBT is a problem-focussed psychotherapeutic treatment. It can be used to target specific thoughts, as well as deeply held core beliefs. In CBT a collaborative approach between the therapist and client is taken to develop a shared understanding of the unhelpful thoughts and behaviours.
A primary goal is to learn strategies to deal with self-defeating thoughts when they arise. Another goal is to recognise and change negative self-talk. Changing our relationship with our thoughts can alter the way we interact with and experience our entire lives.
Who Can Benefit From CBT?
In recent years, CBT has become the gold standard treatment for several mental health issues. There is an overwhelming amount of scientific research and evidence supporting the effectiveness of this treatment. CBT has been shown to be effective in treating many mental health conditions, including:
- Eating disorders
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Many people also find CBT skills helpful in other facets of life, such as anger management, stress reduction and increasing resilience to cope with life’s inevitable challenges.
In CBT we learn to examine our own self-defeating thoughts and ask questions, such as: Is there evidence to support this unhelpful thought? What is this based on? Where did I learn this? Can I find any evidence to the contrary?
In CBT the therapist works with clients to identify flawed logic and understand unhelpful patterns in thinking. These are sometimes known as cognitive distortions. They include:
Always being right
The need to be right at all times, and continually arguing others to prove they are right. Valuing being right above the enjoyment and comfort of people around them.
Black and white (or polarised) thinking
Viewing things in the most extreme terms. Everything and everyone is either perfect or terrible. There is no nuance or in-between.
Always worrying about or expecting the worst-case scenario. Overdramatising any event.
External control fallacy: we are a helpless victim, forever blaming others for our circumstances.
Internal control fallacy: if people around us aren’t happy, it must be our fault because we are not good enough.
Confusing feelings for facts. The belief that if you feel something it must be true.
Fallacy of change
The belief that other people would be perfect if only they changed in the ways we’d like.
Fallacy of fairness
Anger, resentment or disdain at things perceived to be unfair.
Overgeneralising or mislabelling themselves and others based on a single characteristic or event. Being too quick to classify and write people off based on little evidence.
Heaven’s reward fallacy
The belief that suffering, sacrificing and denying one’s own wants and needs will be recognised and rewarded. Often leads to bitterness and resentment of those who live differently.
Jumping to conclusions
The belief that they know what others are thinking, or how things will turn out before trying (usually negative).
Only seeing the negative aspects of a given situation and ignoring any positive aspects. Assigning negatives great weight and meaning, while disregarding positives.
Viewing an isolated incident as indicative of much more. Any failure or perceived criticism means they are deeply flawed in every way.
The belief that everything others do and say is a thinly-veiled insult or attack. Taking everything personally.
Incessant ideas about what would improve themselves or others. Failing to live by our own rules can result in guilt or shame. Other people failing to live by our rules can result in bitterness and frustration.
How Seed Psychology can help you
Our psychologists are highly trained and experienced with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, as well as a range of other evidence-based psychotherapeutic treatments. We will work in collaboration with you to develop a shared understanding of the issues and their underlying cognitive distortions. We can use the techniques and strategies of CBT to help restore your mental health and wellbeing.
Contact us now to book an appointment.