I am extremely passionate about cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and have been since I first learned about CBT when I was a student mental health nurse many moons ago.There are lots of myths both in the media and in society in general about what CBT is. One common example of what I would have heard throughout the years is that CBT is simply changing negative thinking to positive thinking! Well if this was the case I would be flying it with my own mental health and well-being as I have a vast amount of knowledge in this area of interest and work as a CBT therapist most days of my life!! Unfortunately there is no magic wand to change negative thoughts to positive thoughts and this is why I think it is important to tell you more about CBT and the pros and cons of CBT treatment that may be considered:
Pros of CBT Therapy?
- Research has shown that CBT can be as effective as medication for the treatment of some mental health problems.
- CBT can be a very effective intervention combined with medication if medication alone is not effective to treat the persons mental health problems.
- It is a structured therapy approach which can be defined to treat many different types of mental health problems.
- CBT is a structured treatment which means it can be provided in different formats including one to one, group, self-help books or online programmes.
- CBT is focused on the persons presenting problems and helps with developing an understanding of the persons thoughts, feelings and looks at altering behaviours in order to improve the way you feel.
- CBT is problem focused, goal orientated, solution focused and is directed towards clear and realistic solutions.
- CBT is time limited and a short term approach compared to other talking therapies.
- CBT provides education and coping strategies for you to become your own therapist at the end of treatment.
- CBT teaches people practical strategies that can be used in everyday life to help manage our mental health and well-being more positively in the future.
Cons of CBT Therapy?
- Commitment – CBT is a collaborative therapy approach where the therapist can advise you and is willing to help and support you but unfortunately cannot make the problems disappear, therefore it is essential that you are willing to work with your therapist.
- CBT needs your time – Work needs to be carried out in-between sessions and this work depends on what your treatment needs are which will be discussed between you and your therapist. Doing the work in between the sessions is essential for your treatment to be effective.
- CBT is a structured approach which may not suit each individual presentation which can depend on the complexity of the persons mental health needs or learning difficulties.
- CBT involves exploring emotions and anxieties which may involve experiencing increased anxiety and emotional discomfort in the during phases of treatment.
- CBT is mostly present focused but there is some time spent on a persons past in order to help us understand what may have contributed to the individuals presenting problems. However, this may not suit some individuals needs as other talking therapy approaches maybe required in order to explore wider problems more in depth if required i.e. family systems, childhood trauma.
I hope this provides clarity about what CBT involves as often people are not fully aware of the process of what is involved in this evidence based treatment approach. CBT works very successfully for the majority of clients I work with. During the initial phases of therapy I conduct a comprehensive mental health assessment with my clients and inform each person about the CBT approach and what the treatment would involve. I would highly recommend CBT treatment and the most rewarding part of my job is seeing my clients get better.
Should anyone have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me.