Counselling With CBT
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a way of counselling that concentrates on identifying goals and then looking for ways to achieve them. In working towards these goals CBT looks at how a person thinks, feels and acts in relation to their issues.
CBT believes that counselling works more effectively if we clarify what your issues are and what you want to achieve by the end of therapy. Therefore in your first session the counsellor will help you choose goals that you want to work towards. These will be used to guide the plan for counselling. Goals are also useful for reviewing your counselling to see how you are progressing.
CBT uses a range of tools and techniques which can be carried out during sessions with your counsellor or be given to work on in between sessions. These are known as strategies and might include reading, observing the behaviour of others and writing down changes in your thoughts or feelings.
The aim of these strategies is to encourage you to think about your situation in different ways and how you might change it. They can also help to change patterns of behaviour that have been in place for a long time.
The Interaction Between Thoughts, Feelings and Actions
CBT believes that thoughts, feelings and behaviours are interconnected and influence each other.
Thoughts are the words and ideas that occur in our minds, either spontaneously or from conscious effort. They are often formed as sentences such as ‘I feel better when I go out’
Feelings describe an emotional reaction to something or a general emotional state that can remain over different situations. Feelings tend to be described using one word only, such as sadness, or anger.
Behaviours are the things that we do and say that are noticeable to others, such as laughing, crying and shouting.
If we expect not to like something (negative thoughts) then we are more likely to feel anxious or unhappy about it (negative feelings) and may end up choosing to do something else instead (avoiding behaviour).
Therefore if we change one of these, either our thoughts, feelings or behaviours, then the others will change too.