What is CBT?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy. CBT can help people who are experiencing a wide range of mental health difficulties. The way we think can affect how we feel emotionally and physically, which can influence how we behave. CBT helps individuals to examine thoughts and beliefs and aims to help people understand how our thoughts, feelings and behaviour are interconnected and can trap us in vicious cycles.

Cognitive therapy uses techniques to help individuals explore thoughts, beliefs and interpretations. Cognitive therapists use a style of questioning (Socratic questioning), which will help you explore your beliefs and thinking processes. This is called ‘guided discovery’.

The behavioural component refers to the way in which people respond when distressed. Responses such as avoidance of feared situations, reduced activity and other unhelpful behaviours can act to keep the problem going, or worsen how the person feels. One of the aims of CBT is to help individuals gradually test out their assumptions and fears and challenge their behaviours. For example, this might include helping people to gradually face the situations they fear, or avoid. Individuals are taught a variety of techniques that can help them reduce the anxiety they feel and are taught behavioural skills to help them tackle problems in a systematic way. 

What is Eye Movement Desensitisation Therapy (EMDR)?

EMDR is a type of therapy that was started by Dr Francine Shapiro in 1987. Dr Shapiro found that after rapid eye movements (eyes moving back and forth), disturbing thoughts and emotions improved. This type of therapy is recognised worldwide and has been used to treat a variety of disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder, flashbacks, depression, phobias and anxiety.

What is Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)?

There is growing evidence that developing the feelings of compassion for one’s self and others can have a positive impact on our body, brain and mind. Research evidence from within the healthcare community suggests that developing feelings of compassion can have a profound impact on our physical and mental health, relationships, and general well-being.

Self-criticism, shame or guilt and concerns regarding inferiority or not feeling good enough can have a negative impact on how we feel. CFT aims to help people develop skills to tackle ‘the bully within’ and aims to help people reduce feelings of shame and self-criticism by becoming more compassionate. Learning to ‘be kinder to ourselves’ can have a positive impact on our mental and physical health, and can help us navigate the ups and downs in life.

CFT has been shown to be successful for people who experience feelings of guilt and shame and who are self-critical. For example, people who have experienced trauma, or suffer with low mood or symptoms of anxiety often experience feelings of shame and can tend to judge themselves too harshly.