Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

What does cognitive mean?

Cognitive means thought processes as well as knowledge or perception. Cognitive therapy helps you to examine and analyse your thoughts and beliefs that are connected to your moods, behaviours and physical experiences and to events in your life. This is so that you can learn how to change your mood and behaviour by changing the way that you think.The core idea being that your perception of an event or experience of it powerfully affects your emotional, behavioural and physiological responses to it.

For example; if you are standing in a long queue at the supermarket waiting to pay for your groceries you could decide to accept that this may take a while and just relax and maybe strike up a conversation with someone next to you. In this case both your mind and body will stay relaxed whilst you enjoy the moment. Alternatively, if you were to think why have they got so few staff working at the tills and it’s not fair to have to wait such a long time you may feel irritable and even angry resulting in your muscles tensing, looking at your watch and moaning to the other people in the queue.    

Cognitive Therapy

When you see a therapist he or she will need to find out, and help you develop an understanding of what is going on in your environment by asking questions about your thoughts (the way that you think and your beliefs and memories), your moods (how your thoughts affect your emotional state), the behaviour that results from your thoughts and moods and how this effects your physical state.

The five areas of environment, thoughts, mood, behaviour and physical reactions are all interconnected and therefore each different aspect of your life influences all the others. For example, changes in your behaviour influence how you think and also how you feel (physically and emotionally). Behaviour changes can also change your environment. Similarly changes in your thinking affect your behaviour, mood and physical reactions and can result in changes in your social environment.

Once you have an understanding of what the problem is a plan of action can be formulated to find a solution which might be a new way of thinking or a change in behaviour and/or environment or perhaps learning techniques that help you to change your emotional state quickly.

Behaviour modification therapy    

Pavlov established what is known as a ‘conditioned response’ in his experiment with dogs whereby the dogs learned to link the sound of a bell with the sight and smell of food by the repetitive ringing of a bell every time the dogs were fed. After a while the dogs would salivate at the sound of the bell even when there was no food present.

If you are a smoker you may well be aware of a number of different ‘conditioned responses’ you experience every day. For example you may always get an urge to smoke after a meal or with a cup of coffee or when drinking alcohol or when driving. This has resulted from the repetitive nature of your behaviour and the environment in which it occurred so that most of the time you are behaving on auto pilot. In other words it is a subconscious habit.

One way to break this cycle is to consciously change the behaviour for a period of a few weeks so that the new behaviour takes the place of the old one.

The Benefits of CBT

The result of being able to challenge and then change the way that you think about various aspects of your life is that changing behaviours (like quitting smoking and over-eating) overcoming phobias, managing stress and eliminating anxiety/depression becomes much easier.   

The 'tools' of the trade

Andrew utilises various different therapy and coaching techniques under the umbrella of Solution focussed therapy to help you to achieve your goals. These 'tools' include CBT, hypnotherapy, life coaching and Neuro Linguistic programming. If you have a question about his approach please submit your details in the box below.      

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