What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a form of talking therapy that combines cognitive therapy and behaviour therapy. It focuses on how our thought processes influence our feelings and in turn our behaviour. The theories behind CBT suggest that problematic behavioural patterns can occur when thoughts become distorted, often producing uncomfortable feelings, such as fear, anger, and hopelessness.
This leads to safety behaviours, such as avoidance, reassurance seeking, comfort eating as an attempt to alleviate, control, or suppress distorted thoughts and feelings.
Specific techniques, such as cognitive restructuring, cognitive reappraisal of negative emotions, behavioural analysis, and skills training are used to:
Why Use CBT?
CBT is a highly successful evidence-based approach, and is widely used both within the NHS and the private sector. It takes a more collaborative approach than some other therapies, such as counselling or psychotherapy; the therapist and client discuss the problem together and agree therapy goals, direction and the pace that the treatment will take.
CBT is used widely to treat:
Combined with Mindfulness, acceptance strategies, and a schematic approach, CBT is also used to treat Personality Disorders.
The Strengths of CBT
The advantage of CBT is that the course of treatment is normally quite short, lasting from between eight weeks to six months. Sessions are usually held once a week, with each session lasting 50 minutes to an hour. Together with the therapist you will explore what your problems are and develop a plan for tackling them. You will learn a set of principles that you can apply whenever you need to. You may find them useful long after you have left therapy.
CBT may focus on what is going on in the present rather than the past. However, the therapy may also look at your past and how your past experiences impact on how you interpret the world now.
Some of the work we did involved looking at the way I interacted with people, e.g. if somebody had seemed to reject me, I’d write a list of all the reasons against why the way I was thinking might be incorrect. This helped me see things from the other person’s perspective, and realise I might be wrong in my assumptions."
What is EMDR?
Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy developed by Francine Shapiro that emphasises disturbing memories as the cause of psychopathology.
It is used to help with the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to Shapiro, when a traumatic or distressing experience occurs, it may overwhelm normal coping mechanisms. The memory and associated stimuli are inadequately processed and stored in an isolated memory network.
EMDR therapy is similar in efficacy to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in chronic PTSD.
Why Use EMDR?
The goal of EMDR is to reduce the long-lasting effects of distressing memories by engaging the brain's natural adaptive information processing mechanisms, thereby relieving present symptoms.
The therapy uses an eight-phase approach that includes having the patient recall distressing images while receiving one of several types of bilateral sensory input, such as side to side eye movements.
EMDR was originally developed to treat adults with PTSD, however it is also used to treat other conditions and children.
The Strengths of EMDR
Healing from trauma and emotional pain doesn’t have to take years; it can happen very quickly for many individuals when treated with EMDR. According to the EMDR Institute website, research has shown that between 84% and 100% of PTSD victims who had experienced a single trauma recovered fully after 3 to 6 sessions. Over three-fourths of those who had experienced multiple traumas recovered fully in just six 50-minute sessions. Combat veterans have also found fast results, with more than 3 out of 4 recovering fully after just 12 therapy sessions.
The brevity of EMDR makes it a much more affordable type of treatment for most people than more traditional types of therapy.
This treatment can be used to heal non-trauma-related painful memories that negatively impact individuals in a variety of ways. For example, individuals who developed low self-esteem or other negative self-perceptions, due to growing up in dysfunctional homes, may also benefit from the strategies used in EMDR.
It helps individuals recover from trauma without avoiding all the things they associate with the traumatic event. Avoidance is a common coping mechanism in individuals with PTSD.
It helps restore a positive future outlook and enhance the ability to feel pleasure and make emotional connections in individuals with PTSD, anticipatory anxiety, phobias, OCD and low self esteem.