Rob Frazer BSc, MA.
UKCP Registered Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist
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"Not to laugh, not to lament, not to curse, but to understand" - Spinoza
Types of Therapy > Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
By combining the theory and techniques behind both cognitive and behavioural therapies, CBT sought to define an approach that focuses on the interaction between our thoughts, feelings, bodily responses and behaviour.
In particular, the work of Aaron T. Beck and Albert Ellis in looking at how emotional responses result from our thoughts was combined with the work of behaviourists such as Ivan Pavlov, John Watson and B.F Skinner whose work looked at the reinforcing power of behaviour.
Together, this fusion of theories sought to focus on how individuals were thinking about their lives and how these thoughts have an impact on the way you behave. By changing negative patterns of thinking or behaviour, CBT argues that you can change any negative emotions you might be feeling.
Further unlike other forms of psychotherapy, CBT focuses specifically on the problems and difficulties in the present, rather than issues based in the past.
'People don't just
get upset. They contribute
to their upsetness'
CBT uses the 'Interacting systems model'. Put simply this means that there is a constant interaction between thoughts, feeling, physiology and behaviour:
- It is brief and time-limited
- Focuses on what's happening in the present rather than the past.
- Looks at 'maintaining behaviours', believing that it is often unnecessary to go looking for initial causes to alleviate suffering.
To use a fire analogy, CBT does not go looking for the match that started the fire (e.g, childhood trauma) like psychoanalysis might. Instead it focus on what maintains the fire in the present ie, heat, oxygen, fuel. If you remove any one of these elements the fire is extinguished without needing to find out what caused it in the first place.
For example, if somebody was badly bullied as a child and found it difficult to meet new people as an adult, CBT would not focus on clarifying and working through the memories and emotions around the original trauma. Instead it would focus on the thoughts and behaviours maintaining the situation.
Was distorted thinking such as 'catastrophising', 'mind reading' of 'fortune telling' preventing them from trying out new situations or meeting new people?
Were 'safety behaviors' such as staying in (or not engaging fully when out) maintaining their situation? Did the short term safety of 'avoidance' mean they missed an opportunity to test out how real their fears actually were?
Setting an agenda for each session means that its highly structured:
- Relationship with the therapist in not a focus of the treatment:
- Homework is a central element - work continues outside of the therapy room.
- Collaborative in nature - you and the therapist work together to set goals.
PROS OF CBT:
(1) BRIEF AND GOAL FOCUSED:
More affordable (because it's shorter in length).
by teaching practical techniques and homework - put techniques into use even once therapy has concluded.
(3) EMPIRICAL VALIDATION:
Strong scientific support for its effectiveness in a number of issues.
We work as a team towards your goal(s).
Psychotherapy & Counselling Luton