It could help you to understand how the way you think affects the way you feel and behave. It combines cognitive therapy (exploring the thoughts you have) and behavioural therapy (examining the things that you do.)
The first step to positive change is awareness
The thoughts we think and the beliefs we have create the experiences we have. Beliefs are simply thoughts we keep on thinking.
Change the thoughts and beliefs, and you change the experiences.
So, once you can identify your unhelpful patterns off thoughts and behaviours that may be causing your difficulties, you can start to challenge and change them.
This is why CBT is a fantastic tool to help you break the cycle of negative thinking and discover a new, more uplifting way of life.
CBT is like detective work
When working with clients I invite them to become curious and to treat our work together like playing detective.
This can make the experience not only easier but also more enjoyable and effective.
You are learning to become curious about the way in which you think and the impact that this has on the choices you make.
This way spotting patterns of distorted thinking and challenging them before the send you in a downward spiral, can feel as satisfying as Sherlock solving a case.
Your thoughts are opinions, not facts
Take a moment to let that sink in. Because it’s all too easy to fall into the belief that everything you think is true. But it isn’t, it is simply an opinion.
Just as you wouldn’t automatically accept someone else’s opinion as 100% accurate, you don’t have to treat your own thoughts that way either.
If they the thoughts are unhelpful, harming or holding your back, then you can learn to challenge and change them.
You can learn a lot about yourself through CBT
Working with CBT is a fantastic way to learn more about yourself. And in so doing, you can then choose to make positive changes to your life.
Here are some examples of things that other clients have learnt from working with CBT:
Greater self-confidence -
learning how to silence the ‘inner critic’ and turn it into a personal cheer leader.
- Less anxiety or worry – learning to spot the situations that lead to anxiety, fear or panic. Then choosing to either avoid them or to gradually build a greater ability to cope with them.
- Building better relationships – learning how to check assumptions about other people’s motives or motivation for doing things, rather than always assuming the worst. This in turn builds greater empathy and improves communication.
- Building self-esteem – learning how to be more compassionate to and accepting of yourself.
- Sleeping better – learning to cultivate the thoughts and behaviours that lead to a refreshing night’s sleep, rather than those that cause insomnia or restlessness.
- Feeling in control – learning how to manage your personal and professional commitments better by setting more realistic and achievable goals.
Just imagine what you could learn from CBT...
If you’re interested in finding out more about how CBT can help you to change your life, please get in touch.
About the author
Tobias Oliver is a highly experienced therapist who has a wide range of skills and modalities to draw upon in his work with clients. He is a cognitive behavioural therapist, yoga teacher, writer and hypnotherapist. Tobias helps people with grief, stress and anxiety but many other issues besides.