What you need to know about CBT

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is known to be a highly effective treatment for a range of problems.  Scientific research closely monitors outcomes of different treatment interventions and there is strong evidence that CBT works for many people.  Not only can it help resolve the initial problem but, through the skills and strategies learned, equips you for dealing with day-to-day issues and future challenges.

CBT tends to focus on the here and now. It is personalised, time-limited and monitored. If a strategy isn’t working for you, we ‘roll up our sleeves’ and try something else.

The focus of treatment is to enable you to generate solutions to any problem that you have – now or in the future – that are more helpful than your present ‘maladaptive’ ways of coping.

Here is an example of how our thoughts, feelings and behaviour can affect us:

Jane was sleeping when the phone rang and by the time picked it up she had missed the call.  She had been suffering from anxiety and depression for some time. Her son, Jack, who had recently moved to Auckland, immediately came to mind. Jane thought: “Something’s happened to Jack… that was the police calling to say that he’s been in an accident.” As soon as she had this thought her heart began to beat faster, her stomach began to churn and her thoughts began to race… [She’s had a thought and believes it is the truth.]   In her state of now heightened anxiety, she called Jack’s mobile over and over again but there was no reply. Jane took this as further evidence that something bad had happened.  [Her body is responding as if her thought is reality.]  She even considered calling the hospitals near where Jack lived, so convinced she was that he’d been in an accident.  She continued to ruminate on all the awful things that could have happened.  She barely slept for the rest of the night.  In the morning, she received a call from Jack wondering what was going on.  It hadn’t even been him ringing and he’d had his phone switched off overnight (as usual).  Despite her relief, Jane remained in a distressed state [adrenalin stays in the body for a long time] and felt unable to go to work – and lost a day’s pay.

All from an automatic, faulty thought.

How is CBT organised?

CBT is organised over an agreed number of sessions (usually between 10 and 15). Typically, sessions are weekly and last an hour.   We:

  • develop a shared understanding of the problem
  • identify how this affects your thoughts, behaviours, feelings and daily functioning
  • identify goals and develop a shared treatment plan – which often involves using the time between therapy sessions to try things out.

After treatment completion, we agree to a limited number of follow-up sessions to help maintain the progress achieved.

CBT can be used on its own or in conjunction with medication, depending on the severity or nature of each client’s problem.

CBT can be used to help anyone irrespective of ability, culture, race, gender or sexual preference.

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