COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY (CBT)
One of the methods of psychotherapy, which helps to find a way out
of seemingly deadlocked situations, is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
The method originated in the late 1950-s by Aaron Beck. Essentially, CBT explores the links between thoughts,
emotions and behaviour. A strong conviction held by CBT is that it is necessary to pay attention to thoughts,
analyze and correct them, as they are the catalyst for emotions and actions.
Notice, how the mind is always filled with some kind of thoughts.
There are some thoughts that we consciously think, but there are also other thoughts that
involuntary come to mind and guide our responses to some situations automatically. .
Thoughts that occur as a response to a trigger ( event / situation)
and flush in the mind involuntary are called automatic thoughts. They uncontrollably arise,
and also disappear quickly, but nevertheless we trust them and believe them unconditionally.
Automatic thoughts often appear like a cascade or a flow, both negative and positive,
and regardless of their absurdity, a certain reaction is formed in us, which causes certain experiences,
often completely unnecessary, leading to the problem. During therapy, these thoughts are identified,
evaluated and corrected, and the processes that bring them into motion understood.
Since 80 % of automatic thoughts are negative, we can literally think
ourselves into disharmony and illness, unless we pay attention to our automatic thoughts and become
aware of their underlying processes, so that we can change them for the more adaptive ones that can heal us and help us grow.
The mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.
CBT is an effective way of gaining insight into the mind’s hidden working patterns to become its
master and creator of own reality. It is as simple as that – we’ve got to change the way we think if we want to change the way we feel.
The moment we alter our perception of reality – is the moment we rewrite the neurochemistry
of our body and transform the way we feel. This is what literally happens to our physiology when we change the way we think:
- New thought activates new neural networks in the brain
- TNew neural networks begin to fire and wire to create a hologram (or image)
- A hologram (or image) signals the limbic brain to make neuropeptides
- Neuropeptides are chemical messengers that signal hormones
- Hormones dock on receptor cites of cells
- Cells begin to get a new message and signal new genes
- New genes make new proteins to express life
Awareness of the mind’s inadequate working patterns that affect adequate information processing,
and their replacement, are the main tasks of CBT. There is irrefutable scientific evidence for the
effectiveness of this approach in depressive, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive related disorders treatment.
It is important to note that CBT is not limited to viewing emotional and behavioural difficulties as
the result of cognitive malfunction only, but sees them as occurring within the context of interaction of
other determining factors that shape a person’s belief system. Such factors involve biological, developmental,
environmental, social and dispositional traits dynamics, which I take into account when tailoring the treatment plan.
It is a relatively brief from of therapy (10 – 20 sessions) that is structured, goal-oriented, and pragmatic,
aimed at equipping individuals with a set of specific techniques that they can learn to implement independently,
and so become their own therapists.
Since this approach appeals to the rational “self” and stimulates analytic thought –
it engages the left – brain hemisphere, which governs such functions. As much as traditional
CBT may be effective on its own, its benefits are boosted when Mindfulness – Based Cognitive Therapy
is added at the later stages, as it stimulates the right – brain hemisphere, associated with
creativity and intuition (you can learn more about this approach in the “Mindfulness – Based
Cognitive Therapy” page). Both brain hemispheres need to be working in symphony for the nervous system to
function at its optimal level, thus bringing balance to Mind, Body and Spirit..