What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and How Can It help you?

Coach & therapist Dione Lockyer

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (also known as CBT) is a type of psychotherapy intervention that aims to improve mental health.  Based on the CBT triangle of thoughts, feelings and behaviours, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy focuses on challenging and changing distortions that are led to believe to be causing problems and then to reevaluate them in the light of reality. It can be used for a range of problems such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, relationship concerns and many mental health illnesses. With extensive research, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is proven to lead to significant improvement in both functioning and quality of life!

So, how can it help you? We all want to be happy in life, don’t we?  The definition of happiness differs from person to person but happiness is something that is universally pursued. Most people fixate happiness with physical aspects of their life for example or changes in their current situation such as,  I will be happy when if I am slimmer, I will be happy with more money, I will be happy in a different job.  Do these statements ring true to any of you?  This may surprise you but richer people are not always happier, slimmer people are not always happier and neither are those who have more money.  In fact, physical and material objects have no impact on how happy it makes an individual.  So what is the difference? It all comes down to perspective or thoughts in our own situations!

There is an overused expression that is used yet is extremely important and actually gets to the heart of CBT.  Is your glass half-full or half-empty? This is the difference between happy and unhappy people.  The glass of water is seen as the persons situation or their life’s circumstances. We tend to think that by filling the glass with materialist objects such as a new job, a new house or more money will sufficiently fill the glass but physical objects actually have no impact at all.  It is all about the thoughts, feelings and behaviours you have. Here is an example by Dr Michael Sinclair to give you a full understanding of how this works.

Two friends, Emma and Sarah both have job interviews on the same day.  Emma is feeling very nervous and can feel her heart in her throat.  In contract, Sarah whilst slightly nervous is actually a little excited. Although she is aware of the unusual feeling in her chest, she refers to it as butterflies rather than the pounding of her heart. These two women are in identical situations but are experiencing very different physical and emotional reactions.  This is down to one fundamental difference……THEIR PERSPECTIVE!

Whether one is more qualified than the other is irrelevant, as is all of the external factors.  It all comes down to how we view the situation.  CBT refers to two core aspects of psychology;

  1. Thinking
    Cognition refers to all of our thoughts, which include memories, images and words etc. Everything that goes through our heads falls into this category.
  2. Action
    Behaviour refers to whatever we are doing with our body at any particular moment.  Quite often, when people ask what we are doing, we respond with “nothing”.  This is actually impossible! We are ALWAYS doing something, even sitting down staring out of the window is considered an action.

Here is an exercise for all of my wonderful readers. Site in a quiet comfortable place with no distractions.  Answer the following questions without too much thought.

1.How would you like to feel?

  1. What do you like best about yourself?
  2. What changes are you willing to make?
  3. How do you feel physically?
  4. How do you feel emotionally?
  5. How do you behave?
  6. Can you see the connection between the last three questions?

By answering these questions openly and honestly, you can retrain your thoughts which will then have a completely different impact on your feelings and behaviours.  If you would like to learn more about your answers or information regarding CBT, please email me at coachingwithdione@gmail.com

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