You may have heard about the effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT for dealing with many issues including stress, anxiety and depression. Our Registered Psychologist (Provisional) Lana McAleer explains what it is and how it works.
What is CBT?
If you are interested in starting therapy CBT is a term that you’ve likely heard about or may come up as you learn more about therapy.
CBT stands for cognitive behaviour therapy. CBT first emerged as a
therapeutic approach in the 1960s, when Aaron Beck combined together the previously separate cognitive therapy with behaviour therapy.
The theory behind CBT is this:
1. First there is a situation that occurs.
2. Next, you interpret the situation through your thoughts.
3. This leads to an emotional response.
4. The combination of our thoughts and emotions leads to a behaviour.
So, in CBT the focus is on changing #2, how your thoughts interpret the situation, and #4 your behaviour.
How CBT is used with clients will differ between therapists, but typically involves:
1. First, you’ll likely establishing some goals for therapy.
2. With CBT you will likely be asked to monitor your current thoughts in a thought log, as well as possibly monitoring your behaviour in a behaviour log.
By monitoring these, both you and your therapist are able to start to see patterns in your thinking and behaviour.
3. Once these patterns are identified, the therapist can help name types of thoughts you may be having.
4. Next, you will work on examining the evidence for these thoughts, as there may be other ways to interpret the situation. The therapist can help to point out other things that might be going on, and other interpretations.
5. At the same time, you and the therapist may look at your behaviours, and if there are ways that these could be changed to meet your goals.
6. Changing the way, you interpret the situation and your behaviours takes time and practice for it to become a habit. It’s important to remember to be gentle with yourself and not to expect changes to occur overnight. It likely took a while to build up to the way you are thinking now, so it will likely take a while to work towards your goal of feeling better.
Most therapists have an understanding of CBT, but not all use this as their main approach. And don’t worry, if you don’t think this type of approach would be the right fit for you, there are many, many other approaches to therapy.
– Lana McAleer, Registered Psychologist (Provisional)
Thanks, Lana. CBT can be a life changer for many people. I love all of the research behind it and the fact that it’s evidence based.
Lana McAleer is a Registered Paychologist (Provisional). She works with Adults, Children and Youth and specializes in the following:
- Panic Attacks
- Mental Health Issues
- Self Esteem
- Self Confidence
- Self Compassion
- Communication Issues
- And many more areas
Cheers to being able to effectively manage stress, anxiety and depression,