Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (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. 

How can CBT help?

CBT usually focuses on difficulties in the here and now. Many research studies reveal that CBT is more effective than medication alone for the treatment of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety. CBT is a structured and problem focused therapy and is usually time-limited. CBT is a practical, systematic and effective therapy that addresses emotional and psychological problems.

How many sessions will I need?

The number of sessions you will need depends on the problems you are experiencing and your personal history. Therapy sessions last for 50 minutes.

Who can benefit from CBT?

Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapists work with individuals, families and/or groups. This type of therapy is recommended by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) for a variety of mental health issues.

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

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.

How does EMDR work?

We naturally have rapid eye movements (REM) when we sleep and this helps the brain process information. If we suffer from a traumatic experience, we may not process information, which can lead to experiencing disturbing memories. Both sides of the brain can be stimulated if we move our eyes quickly from side to side. EMDR therefore helps individual’s process information (upsetting memories) and can help replace negative cognitions with positive cognitions.

How effective is EMDR?

Along with CBT, EMDR is now recognised as a first line treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. EMDR has been used to help an estimated half a million people. Research suggests that EMDR has helped war veterans, trauma survivors (including helping people who have experienced terror attacks), and has helped victims who have experienced natural disasters.

How many sessions will I need and how long does EMDR take?

The number of sessions you will need depends on the problem you are experiencing and your personal history. Most individuals need approximately twelve sessions.The sessions last for 90 minutes.


“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to reach my destination”
James Dean

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