WHAT IS… COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY?
Behavioural therapy focuses on applying theories of human learning to change unwanted, negative behaviours. In the 1950s, Albert Ellis pioneered his development of behavioural theories into CBT. Ellis believed that human problems are generated from thinking, emotional and behavioural sources. Ellis placed a special focus on the role of ‘cognition’, or thinking, as the cause of psychological disturbance. Thus, Ellis believed that people unconsciously or consciously create their own disturbing feelings, through negative thought patterns. According to Ellis, if people create their own mental disturbances, then it follows that people also have the resources to break this cycle and create long-lasting, healthy change. CBT has undergone much development and growth that a third generation of CBT has developed. Third-wave CBT focuses less on the actual content of negative thoughts and emotions, and rather on the client’s relationship to their experience. This change of approach has led to the development of a variety of process-oriented models that place emphasis on the development of mindfulness, self-acceptance and compassion.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) can be used to work through self-destructive behaviours, depression, and anxiety. DBT suits clients who feel emotions very intensely. During DBT treatment, the client and therapist work through the contradiction between self-acceptance and the process of change; all with the aim to replace destructive behavioural patterns and unhelpful beliefs. DBT also helps develop the clients’ mindfulness, increasing their ability to focus on the present, bringing awareness to what is happening internally and in their surroundings. This will slow the client down, avoiding impulsive behaviour and sliding back into automatic negative thought patterns.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) moves towards enabling the client to merge mindfulness skills with self-acceptance in regard to their feelings and thoughts. Instead of avoidance, ACT pushes for acceptance. This will achieve a state in which the client does not feel guilt towards their emotions, and feels present in their experience without judgment. In this process, the client needs to commit to tackling their problems head-on, rather than avoiding them. Thus, individuals need to commit to actions that will help solve their problems long-term. ACT also is based on the powerful message that the individual is not simply the sum of their mental processes and experience but rather there is a self outside the present experience.
Compassion Focused Therapy
Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) focuses on developing mindfulness skills and self-compassion. Creating the ability to be compassionate, kind and accepting of the self will enable the individual to make long-lasting change, improving their ability to process and tolerate negative emotions. This will then result in developing helpful strategies that help self-soothe and increase motivation. CFT focuses on emotional regulation and avoiding self-destructive behaviour being used as a soothing mechanism.
We have members of our team who are trained in third-wave CBT, so if you have any questions about CBT or would like to book in for a consultation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.