What is CBT?
CBT helps you to identify negative and unhelpful thoughts, beliefs and behaviours that might be contributing to how you are feeling, and offers ways to change these in order to improve your mood.
Cognitive (C) – Focus on changing negative thoughts and beliefs that might be contributing to how you feel.
Behavioural (B) – Focus on changing unhelpful behaviours that might be contributing to how you feel, such as withdrawal or avoidance and other safety-seeking behaviours.
CBT is a structured therapy and involves practicing the skills introduced during sessions outside of the therapy room. It is Important to remember there are 168 hours in a week …use as many of them as possible to support your therapy!
What to expect from CBT
You will be offered 6 sessions of CBT initially with a review of progress at Session 6. Up to a further 6 sessions may be agreed at this point. Sessions are around 50 minutes in length.
You will see the same therapist each session.
Sessions are usually on a weekly basis and can be fortnightly or monthly as treatment progresses.
The initial appointment is an assessment session for information gathering purposes where we will also discuss your goals with you.
The following sessions will first focus on making sense of your difficulties and identifying a plan to meet your needs before treatment begins.
At each session the therapist will set an agenda with you to decide together what you will work on during the session.
CBT is a collaborative partnership between the therapist and yourself. Therapists will help you to understand the problem and guide you to apply your learning. Think of the therapist as the personal trainer and you are the athlete! You will need to commit to carrying out in-between session tasks in order for CBT to be effective.
Sometimes therapy sessions may involve outside of the therapy room, for example in public places, depending on the nature of your difficulties.
Whilst it can be helpful to bring someone along if it would make attending your first session easier, therapy is likely to benefit you more when you can talk openly and focus clearly during the sessions. Please bear in mind that you will need to make arrangements for childcare.
If more than two appointments are cancelled in a course of CBT, clients may be discharged.
Please contemplate what your goals are ready to discuss with your therapist at the first session.
What would life look like if your problem reduces or you were to feel more like yourself again?
SPECIFIC - Be very clear in what you want to achieve. Consider breaking the goal down into smaller steps.
MEASURABLE -How will you know when you have achieved your goal? What will you be doing at that time? What will others notice you doing? What will be different? What will you have started or be doing regularly? What will you have stopped or be doing less of?
ACHIEVABLE -Ensure your goals are not too high. Don’t set yourself up to fail! Consider setting smaller goals on your way to the big one. Celebrate your successes. If you don’t achieve what you set out to, then ask what you could do differently, what would make it more likely to succeed next time?
REALISTIC & RESOURCED - Is this achievable with the resources I have? Are there any other resources you need before you can, or to help you, achieve your goal? How can you access these resources? What problems might you have? What can you do to minimise those problems?
TIME LIMITED -Set a reasonable time limit to achieve your goal. 1 week, 1 month, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years?
Consider different (smaller) time limits for smaller steps.
What can I do whilst waiting for treatment?
Cut down on alcohol. Although it can feel that alcohol lifts our mood and relaxes us, it is actually a depressant that can worsen anxiety.
Improve your diet. Missing meals causes dips in our blood sugar that can worsen mood and anxiety levels. Healthy eating improves our mood.
Take regular exercise. Research shows it improves sleep, stress and emotional health.
Cut down on Caffeine (found in tea, coffee, coke and energy drinks) as it can disrupt sleep and cause jitteriness.
Improve your Sleep habits for overall wellbeing.
Thinking about goals before your therapy begins
Thinking about how you will carve the time/space to give to the therapy?