Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) considers that how we behave in a situation ('behavioural') is linked to how we think about the situation ('cognitive'), and how we feel. Changing one of these will influence the others. It is often easier to start by changing behaviour.
For example, faced with the demanding line manager mentioned above, someone might feel inadequate and anxious about their capabilities. They may then work long hours to please the boss, or give up on a job, feeling they will never be good enough. CBT could help them to think about the situation, and change their behaviour, perhaps by checking their work with a colleague, or talking to the manager about what is going on. Talking it through in Counselling and considering new ways to behave, they can explore what their belief may be (eg 'I am never good enough') and whether it really applies to the present. By dealing with the situation, they will feel more in control and may be able to change the situation, thereby feeling better about themselves.
CBT acknowledges that past experiences influence the present, but focuses on the here and now. Rather than exploring the causes of your distress, it looks for ways to change the here and now. Being more focused on one problem, it can be useful in a shorter period of time, but in a more specific way.
CBT can help you to :
- Think about how you behave
- Explore your underlying thinking and beliefs
- See how these impact on your feelings
- Make changes to your behaviours, and hence to your thinking and feelings
- Practice new ways of being in a safe space before doing so in 'outside' situations