What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a scientifically proven talking therapy that can help people with a wide range of difficulties. It is a structured and time limited.
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CBT focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviours and vice versa! It involves slowing down and tuning into your day to day experience so you can identify what is helpful and healthy and what is fuelling emotional difficulties or unhelpful patterns of behaviour. CBT is a proactive approach, ensuring that by the end of Therapy you will have developed new skills and knowledge to enable you to respond wisely to life’s ups and downs. CBT tends to be more focused on the present but can refer to the past to better understand how it impacts on the here and now.
Therapists have a continuing commitment to best practice and regularly attend workshops and Courses which support their professional development and contribute to their ongoing Accreditation and Registration. They receive regular Supervision, from a BABCP Accredited Clinical Psychologist and Peer Reviewed ACT Trainer.
As an Accredited member of the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapists and the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the work is underpinned by the Professional Standards of Conduct and Ethics outlined by these established organisations. Bridget is also a member of the Association for Contextual and Behavioural Scientists, which enables her to develop her practice within the ACT model.
She also has an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service Status
CBT is recommended in the NICE Guidelines (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) as an effective treatment for Anxiety based problems (Health Anxiety, OCD, Panic, Phobias, PTSD, Social Anxiety) and Depression. It has also been found to be effective for stress management, relationship difficulties and self-
At the beginning of the therapy, you and your Therapist will take time to explore your current difficulties in order to develop a shared understanding of your problem. Together you will consider what patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviours might be causing or maintaining your distress and consider alternative ways of handling your experience. In the early sessions you will establish your hopes for therapy and build these into identifiable goals which relate to behavioural change. This will take account of your ‘bigger picture’ or what is important in you.
Skills and strategies learned in sessions will be reinforced through set between session tasks, ready for further reflection and fine tuning when you return.
All sessions are different but can involve: Experiential or Mindfulness-
CBT is all about coaching people to become their own therapist, so towards the end of therapy you may develop a Wellbeing Plan, to include handling setbacks and promoting emotional resilience.
The qualities of compassion, curiosity, courage and openness are integral to Third Wave CBT methods and central to the relationship between Therapist, Client and the difficulties being explored.
Perhaps you’ve been invited to meet up with some Colleagues after work, but you don’t know them so well and during the day you start to worry about how it will go, how will you cope, will you say something stupid or get left out of the conversation? You start to feel anxious and your mind begins to convince you it would be better to go straight home and come up with some excuse. Although initially it’s a big relief, later you get caught up with some self-
If this was just a one off of course, it wouldn’t be a problem but if you kept reacting to social outings in this way you might begin to feel isolated and low.
This is just one example of how CBT could help you overcome a pattern of behaviour that isn’t helping you live the life you would prefer. By helping you to identify the thoughts, feelings, urges and everyday reactions that aren’t helping, we can begin to build new skills and strategies to get you where you want to go. To manage your anxiety, boost your mood and build your confidence.
What Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (pronounced like the word not A.C.T!) ACT is a Third Wave form of CBT sharing many of the above principles but adds some extra dimensions:
Act is underpinned by a growing body of scientific evidence showing its effectiveness for many psychological problems and challenges. With its roots in Behavioural
Science and Learning Theory, ACT highlights how our problematic ‘survival wiring’, means we can put a lot of effort into avoiding difficult thoughts, feelings and physical sensations. We might avoid situations that are anxiety provoking, put off doing things that matter or just keep busy. We try and ‘fix’ our thinking by being ‘rational’, having ‘positive’ thoughts or just overthinking everything. Sometimes ‘escape’ may be through food, alcohol or modern world distractions. These self-
ACT teaches mindfulness and acceptance skills to target difficult thoughts and feelings so they have much less impact and influence. This enables us to Commit (the ‘C’ in ACT) to doing more of the things that give life meaning and purpose, which generally increases a sense of wellbeing and resilience. This is called ‘Psychological Flexibility’. If you are unsure of your values, ACT includes helpful ways to clarify or reconnect with your ‘bigger picture’.
ACT is unique is distinguishing between ‘you’ and your ‘mind’, this trainable skill, enables you to access your ‘on board companion’ or the part of you that can notice your experience. This can be an empowering skill.
ACT can be a helpful for: depression, anxiety, stress, emotional regulation skills, managing long term health conditions, relationship difficulties, building self-
Like ACT, CFT emphasises the inherent difficulty of our evolved Tricky Brains which can make us our own worst critic. Compassion Focused Therapy is particularly relevant to those who experience feelings of shame or guilt and self-