CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which means that what you think (cognitive) and what you do (behavioural) affects the way you feel (emotions). These three things are integrally linked, meaning if you change one of them, all of them will be affected.
For example, if you are feeling depressed and don’t feel like getting up or going out, but you do it anyway, this behavioural activation can lead to improved emotions, such as feeling proud of yourself, also you will be thinking more positively about yourself and your body will experience positive sensations because of the exercise, releasing positive hormones in the brain, such as serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.
Alternatively, if you think, ‘I’m anxious’ or ‘I’m really angry’ and your normal coping mechanism is to numb yourself with alcohol or another addictive behaviour, such as online shopping or binge eating, but instead of acting out in the usual way – you delay and do not act out this behaviour, then this will also have an impact on how you feel about yourself, i.e. you won’t feel the unhealthy negative emotion of e.g. shame or guilt etc. and you can break the vicious cycle.
Unlike some other types of therapy, e.g. psychoanalytic, CBT does not spend an exhaustive amount of time analysing childhood or old memories and experiences, although it is informed by these; rather we work in the present moment, collaboratively to work out what beliefs are creating difficult emotions.
As an integrative counsellor, I incorporate other types of therapies such as Solution Focused Therapy, Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness, plus a variety of other modalities. This helps in tailoring therapy to suit your individual needs and go at your own pace.
This therapy is time-bound and focused, so the length of treatment will be on average 8-10 sessions, sometimes more and often much less. It all depends on the presenting problem and the willingness of the client to do work between sessions. Integrative therapy follows a structured approach, building each week on previous sessions and follows a collaborative approach.