What's Thoughts Got to do With It: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy isn’t just about talking or being told that you are thinking in the wrong way, and that you should think positively at all time. Cognitive Behavioural is more a matter of a chance to look at your thoughts, feelings and assumptions you make and to see whether these contribute to the problems you are having.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is based upon the idea that thinking influences the way you feel. For example if you are feeling depressed you tend to experience negative thoughts such as “I am a failure” and “no one will like me”. As a result you might stop seeing your friends and family or even avoid doing things you once enjoyed. This can make you feel worse about your self, leading to more negative thoughts, and develop a vicious cycle where things just get worse and worse.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help you start doing the activities you normally find pleasurable. In the first session I will need to get a good picture of the difficulties you have and the impact these have on your family and friends, and how they affect your ability to work. I may ask you to complete some questionnaires. This will help give me a better idea of the problems you have and how much each problem affects you. I will ask you to keep a thought diary throughout therapy. Your thoughts and observations will be discussed in each session. This will help you to notice in more detail how you think, feel and behave in certain situations. For example, someone who is worried about meeting new people may be asked to keep a written record of what they were thinking, feeling and how they were behaving when they spoke to someone for the first time at a party.
In most cases you will find that keeping a thought diary will help you to think about things more clearly and get a better picture of your problems. As a result of this you may begin to feel more confident about being able take control of your life and to be able to manage your problems, worries and concerns more effectively.
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About Janet Joosten
Janet Joosten is a BACP counsellor, UKCP psychotherapist and CBT therapist. She has a special interest in health related issues and depression.