Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Most of us can appreciate that if we have a negative thought eg "Iam not good enough", this can lead to a negative feeling ie we feel inadequate, sad and depressed, and this can then lead to a negative behaviour eg withdrawn and not wanting to go out, and then this can reinforce the original thought of "Iam not good enough, and then the cycle goes around and around, perpetuating into a vicious cycle of self destruction.

CBT aims to break this cycle at the thought and the behaviour level.

It teaches us to validate and challenge our negative thought patterns into a more helpful and realistic one.

It encourages us to change our behaviour in order to promote a more positive emotion.  To better understand the behavioural approach, try this simple exercise.  Look up for me, and while looking upwards, try to be sad for me.  Now look down for me and try to be sad.  If you did this exercise correctly, you will find that it is very difficult to be sad while looking up and much more easier to be sad when you are looking downwards.  Why????

This is because, when we look upwards, we are telling our "subconscious" that we are hopeful, that we are inspired and that we are moving forward and NOT sad.  Obviously, the opposite is true for looking down.

So, in summary, if we can change our negative thought patterns and reinforce this with a positive behaviour, then we can increase our chances of breaking the cycle of depression and anxiety.

We will discuss mindfulness in our next blog.

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