Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a form of psychological therapy that aims to change our ways of thinking, feeling or behaving. It is a very useful therapy used in the treatment of many mental health conditions such as;

  • anxiety issues like generalised anxiety disorder, panic, phobias and social anxiety
  • obsessive compulsive disorder
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • depression
  • eating disorders
  • relationship issues
  • anger and stress

It is not as helpful in conditions such as schizophrenia, severe major depression, severe bipolar and people with intellectual disabilities, though the strategies still have their place.

How does CBT work?

CBT works to try identify triggers for the way we feel and experience emotion, and the way we behave. Then through exploration of the reasons we feel that way, and eventually to dissociate those triggers with our automated responses. Another way to think of it, is the ABC’s of CBT.
A stands for the activating event, or situational trigger. It may be a fever, or a new bill, or a notification on your phone. Something that in itself is innocuous.
B is for belief system, or the way you think. It’s a learned experience of how you see the world, through how you watched other people see the world. You may have a belief that a fever is a sign of a serious illness, or that a notification means something terrible has happened.
C is for consequences as in what happens as a result of our belief system. This is often an emotional consequence, we may feel anxious, or sad, more than we expected. Often the mistake made is that people believe the activating event results in a consequence. But a notification is incapable of causing an emotional response. The first step is to realise that it’s the belief system that causes our emotional response. The second step is to then identify and explore the triggers and the belief system. And finally develop strategies to change the way we think about our triggers. This is a grossly oversimplified explanation of it, as clinical psychologists have at least 6 years of basic training and continuing advanced training in the use and implementation of CBT.
If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or other mental health disorders please book in to see one of the doctors at GS Health.

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