CBT has received a lot of publicity over the past few years. Sometimes it appears to be hailed as the solution for psychological difficulties. Nevertheless, CBT will not suit everyone and at all times. So how can you know if it is the right therapeutic approach for you?
There are four aspects which might be useful to consider and I will look at each of those in my coming posts:
- What you are hoping to get from therapy?
- Does the CBT model make sense to you?
- Does the CBT structure suit you? and –
- What problem/s are you experiencing?
To start with I would like you to think about:
- What are you hoping to get from therapy?
CBT is an intervention which aims to help you make changes in your present life. Is this what you want to do? And is it the right time to do this?
In CBT, we start by coming to an understanding with you of what has led to your problems and what keeps them going in the here and now. You may have had some difficult life experiences either when you were much younger, or more recently, – or both. Talking about your experiences and problems with your therapist in a safe setting is an essential part of understanding and processing them. It can be very supportive to share what’s going on in your life and reflect on it in a confidential setting.
However, this alone may not be enough to help you feel better in a lasting way. In CBT, you will be encouraged to think about what you want to be different and how you can make changes which help you get there. It might be that in order to manage the way you have felt you have used coping strategies. Some of these may have helped in the short-term but have kept your problems going. For example, if you have felt low in mood and energy you may have withdrawn from others and reduced your activities; or if you have felt anxious you may have avoided different situations. At the time, these strategies bring you relief but unfortunately they may compound matters. In CBT, we try to help you change the way you deal with things and find more helpful approaches.
However, if you prefer to have a place where you can simply offload and gain relief by having someone listen to you without working towards making changes then CBT might not be the best option for you. In this case, counselling might be more useful for you at this time.
It’s important though to consider that one of the reasons why CBT has a good evidence base for its effectiveness is that you will actively address how you think, how you feel and what you do so as to find lasting ways of dealing with them. This may involve a change in the way you view yourself, for example to help you develop more self-compassion, or trying out different ways of doing things if you struggle with anxiety. Of course, we will help you make the changes you want to make at your own pace, supporting you in a warm and non-judgmental atmosphere.
If you have any questions about any of the above please get in touch by email or telephone.
Next time, we’ll look at the CBT model to see if this approach makes sense to you.