The basic belief of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is that our thoughts and behaviours impact how we feel. Then, if we change our behaviours and challenge unhelpful thinking, we can change the way we feel. There is a very simple illustration which shows the extent to which our thoughts can drive our feelings and actions:
- Imagine you're walking down a road late at night and you hear footsteps coming up behind you. If you think it's someone coming to attack you, how would you feel? What would you do? Maybe you'd feel afraid and want to run away, or anxious and turn to fight?
- Now consider the same situation, walking down a road late at night, hearing footsteps approaching from behind. This time imagine it's a friend hurrying to greet you. What would you feel? How would you react? Maybe you'd feel warm and safe, turning to greet them.
In both cases the facts are the same - someone is approaching you from behind - but your feelings and responses are likely to be very different. Yet all that's really changed is your immediate thought.
In CBT we use a structured approach to agree specific therapeutic goals, then work together to achieve them. This might be by a combination of things such as work done in counselling sessions, agreed "homework" for you to do between sessions, or through other activities appropriate to your needs. CBT is very much about working together to reach your goals.
If you'd like to know more, or to discuss your individual needs, why not call us on 0151 601 2145.