About CBT

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy focuses on identifying and changing patterns of thinking and behaving. CBT may involve various treatments including psycho-education, relaxation techniques, assertiveness training, social skills training, cognitive restructuring, behaviour modification, and exposure techniques. The therapist and client work together to identify problematic thinking and behaviour patterns with the aim of empowering the individual with effective skills to change these patterns. Research clearly indicates that CBT is an effective treatment for many mental health problems including anxiety and depression. CBT Plus incorporates approaches from the field of Positive Psychology with emphasis on resilience, existing skills and one’s strengths.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in general has become an ‘umbrella’-term for a variety of interventions, which are used by many professionals (psychologists, life coaches, health nurses and many others). Particular areas of the CBT ‘tool box’ are used and promoted by specific specialists. For example nutritionists are focused on balanced eating, hypno therapists are aiming at weaning clients off their addictions, yoga trainers are teaching mindfulness and deep breathing strategies, sleep specialists are teaching sleep hygiene strategies, sports coaches are extolling the benefits of physical activation on the emotional wellbeing, and psychiatrists educate about the effects of medications. However, all of these approaches and strategies are part of the overall CBT approach! Even psychologists might use different terms for this cluster of interventions, depending on their specific focus and you might hear about REBT, CAT, DBT , ‘Focused Brief Therapy’, mindfulness based CBT or more recently, Positive Psychology.

As mentioned previously, CBT is based on a framework of understanding one’s own actions/reactions and thinkingpatterns, and therefore being able to influence, strengthen or change one’s behaviour, which consequently leads to more choice and control in one’s own life.

  • CBT is based on the worldview that events are experienced as negative or positive due to one’s own appraisal of these events. Therefore cognitions are an important target for therapy and change. Gaining acceptance is another important pathway to a more fulfilling life.
  • Our appraisal (i.e. thinking) leads to feelings and physical experiences: for example sadness, anger, anxiety or annoyance are experienced physiologically as increased heart rate, sweating, butterflies in the stomach, or tension headaches. Thus, some CBT interventions are aimed at reducing these arousal states and helping with relaxation and de-stressing, which is also more recently documented by evidence from changes in brain functioning.
  • People do not like some of the feelings/ body symptoms and resort to actions, in order to make themselves “feel better”. At this stage many maladaptive behaviours can occur (e.g. dependency on drugs/ alcohol, obsessive behaviours, eating disorders and so forth). CBT intervention helps people to see the futility and harm of these behaviours and helps to guide them into more adaptive and solution focussed behaviors, while helping to re-wire brain pathways into more useful patterns.

This connected chain of: ‘events – thoughts – feelings/ body states – actions’ applies to all of us and therefore the individual_diagram1understanding of CBT is beneficial for everybody. It can help improve athletic/artistic performance, support employees in their ability to deal with workplace stress, help teenagers deal with peer pressure, or teach children how to cope with bullying. It is obviously also a clinical therapy in order to address disorders like anxiety, panic, depression or PTSD.

Because of this incredible potential that CBT could teach so many people to improve their lives, we are very passionate about promoting it more widely! We already know that it works, from our own experience with our clients and from reading the literature! You might want to find out how CBT Plus can help you (or someone close to you) to overcome your individual struggles and how you can expand your existing strengths.