CBT is another approach that I often use parts of in my sessions, as it can help you work through your issues and find those solutions you have been searching for. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychological treatment that has been demonstrated to be effective for a range of problems including depression, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug use problems, marital problems, eating disorders, and severe mental illness. Numerous research studies suggest that CBT leads to significant improvement in functioning and quality of life. In many studies, CBT has been demonstrated to be as effective as, or more effective than, other forms of psychological therapy or medications.

It is important to emphasise that advances in CBT have been made based on both research and clinical practice. Indeed, CBT is an approach for which there is ample scientific evidence that the methods that have been developed produce change. In this manner, CBT differs from many other forms of psychological treatment. CBT is based on several core principles and I think these are important with any issue we might be trying to work on.

Psychological problems are based, in part, on faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking.

Psychological problems are based, in part, on learned patterns of unhelpful behaviours.

People suffering from psychological problems can learn better ways of coping with them, thereby relieving their symptoms and becoming more effective in their lives.

I think that these principles are the basis for most of our issues and helping to understand ourselves better and finding ways to change those faulty thinking patterns and behaviours, is the key. It can then enable you to cope better by using these new ways of thinking and behaving to deal with life in this new way, which is the basis of these principles. A CBT treatment usually involves helping you to change thinking patterns, by helping you to learn to recognise one’s distortions in thinking that are creating problems and then to reevaluate them in light of reality. Gaining a better understanding of the behaviours and motivation of others, while helping you develop problem-solving skills to cope with difficult situations. All of these things are great and just what we need to change, and I use these principles with most of the clients I work with.  But what I can often find is that clients already know these things but have come to me because they are just struggling to change them, or clients weren’t aware of all of these, and then with this extra knowledge, it’s perfect then to use hypnotherapy, EMDR and life coaching to help them to change.

Learning to develop a greater sense of confidence in one’s ability is at the root of long-term change and will also involve changing behavioural patterns. With CBT these strategies might include facing one’s fears instead of avoiding them, using role-play to prepare for potentially problematic interactions with others, and learning to calm one’s mind and relax one’s body. Again, these are great things to do to elicit change, and I do deliver these similar approaches, but I also harness the power of your mind with hypnotherapy to enable you to achieve this much more easily. Often for many people fear can be at the root of our inability to change and with the approaches that I deliver I can help clients to desensitise their fears and enable them to then face things more easily.

Not all CBT therapists will use all of these strategies and I think like any therapy of this kind, the therapist/psychologist works with the patient/client collaboratively, to develop an understanding of the problem and to develop a treatment strategy. CBT emphasises helping individuals learn to be their own therapist, which again I think is just what we need to do. I often make lots of suggestions for clients to do things outside of the session and I have developed and continue to add to the App to provide this extra support for people.  Finally, CBT therapists emphasise what is going on in the person’s current life, rather than what has led up to their difficulties. A certain amount of information about one’s history is needed, but the focus is primarily on moving forward in time to develop more effective ways of coping with life; this is the principle of CBT. This is one of the main points I deviate from the CBT principles, not with every client but with many of the people I work with, as I believe we need to find a firm foundation on which to build our new confidence and new behaviour patterns. It is not that we have to talk through things like counselling, but it is more about getting our unconscious mind to let go of the past and move on.

This is where EMDR is just a lifesaver of a technique as it is fast and highly effective in helping you come to terms with the past. As we can’t change the past, we can only change how we feel about the past. You may have tried certain therapies and not found that change you needed, don’t give up, there is the perfect approach out there for you, just keep looking. If I can be of any help, please just let me know.  Sara.

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