Psychotherapy. Helping you gain a better understanding of the issues troubling you.

There are many different psychotherapy approaches. Here, we give a general overview of psychotherapy and look at a particular approach: CBT.

Psychotherapy is an umbrella term that includes many techniques designed to help deal with aspects of our emotions or behaviour that we wish to change.

Modern psychotherapy has evolved since Freud.

Techniques – including those used in counselling and hypnotherapy – help bring about new perceptions that lead to beneficial changes in how we feel and how we act. Put simply: how you think is how you feel.

So the aim of a psychotherapist is to challenge, and ultimately change, negative and destructive thoughts, allowing the client to lead a more productive and satisfying life.

By changing how you think you can also change how you feel.

Simple to learn strategies provide clients with practical and powerful ‘life-skills’. An individual may act or react in a certain way that is not healthy but may be as a result of events that may have happened previously.

A psychotherapist will help a client to see this situation and develop more effective techniques for dealing with it in the future.

Techniques that may be used are training in assertiveness and relaxation and gradual desensitisation to feared objects. Psychotherapy has been proven to be highly successful in a broad range of specific problems such as phobias, repetitive habits (nail biting, bed wetting, etc.) as well as anxiety and depression. Ultimately the psychotherapist will seek to effect positive and lasting change by working with the client to modify his or her unhealthy thoughts and/or behaviours.

Psychotherapy offers new ideas and possibilities, new ways to behave and new directions to follow. It offers new choices in the way we deal with situations, and provides us with the resources we need to make those changes possible.

Each of us is a unique person in our own right. Your psychotherapist will utilise the techniques that are most appropriate and integrate them in the best way for each individual client

What is CBT?

CBT is short for ‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’, a particular type of psychotherapy that is the NHS choice of treatment for a variety of problems we experience.

In particular, CBT can help you to change how you think (‘Cognitive’) and what these thoughts may lead to (‘Behaviour’). These changes can help you to feel better. Unlike some of the other talking treatments, it focuses on the ‘here and now’ problems and difficulties. Instead of focusing on the causes of your distress or symptoms in the past, CBT looks for ways to improve your state of mind now.
It has been found to be helpful in:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic
  • Agoraphobia and other phobias
  • Social phobia
  • Bulimia
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Post traumatic stress disorder
  • Schizophrenia

CBT can help you to make sense of overwhelming problems by breaking them down into smaller parts. This makes it easier to see how they are connected and how they affect you. These parts are:

  • A Situation – a problem, event or difficult situation. From this can follow:
  • Thoughts
  • Emotions
  • Physical feelings
  • Actions

Each of these areas can affect the others. How you think about a problem can affect how you feel physically and emotionally. It can also alter what you do about it.

When you work with a CBT psychotherapist, the problem will be broken down into its separate parts. To help this process, the CBT psychotherapist may ask you to keep a diary. This will help you to identify your individual patterns of thoughts, emotions, bodily feelings and actions.

Together you will look at your thoughts, feelings and behaviours to work out if they are unrealistic or unhelpful, and how they affect each other – and you.

The therapist will then help you to work out how to change the unhelpful thoughts and behaviours you may have.

CBT is  considered by the NHS to be the most effective psychological treatment for moderate and severe depression. Studies have shown that it can be as effective as antidepressant medication for many types of depression presented.

For more information on CBT, visit the NHS website section: www.nhs.uk/conditions/cognitive-behavioural-therapy-cbt/