Introduction to CBT
Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
— George Bernard Shaw
What is CBT?
CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy; this means that it focuses on the interaction between the way you think (cognitive) and the way you act (behaviour). Making changes (the therapy part) to the way you think and act can have a significant impact on the way you feel.
CBT is a type of evidence-based therapy which can help with depression and anxiety disorders. It is educational ? it teaches you how to become your own therapist, armed with a toolkit of techniques. Not only can you use the techniques to help yourself feel better but you will also know why you are feeling better and can use your toolkit again in future.
Throughout the Stress and Mood Management course, we focus on the interaction between thoughts, feelings and behaviour:
Our thoughts lead us to interpret and understand situations in a particular way. This understanding creates the way we ‘feel’ about a situation. Based on these thoughts and feelings, our behaviours might also change in ways that can serve to reinforce those initial beliefs and perceptions about the situation. By paying a little more attention to the way we are thinking, we can understand that connection and see why we ‘end up feeling’ certain ways at certain times.
One of the ways we can do this is using a thought diary. You have already learned this in the Introduction session of the course. Thought diaries help to slow things down a little and start that process of paying attention to what we are thinking and how that impacts on our feelings.
It’s recommended on the course to use thought diaries regularly to understand your own ‘thought-feeling-behaviour’ cycles. You can download additional copies of the thought diary here and print them at home for practice. As the course progresses, you’ll learn to use more advanced thought diaries.
For those who want something more technological, there are a number of thought diary apps that can be downloaded for both iPhone and Android smartphones. These have the advantage of being readily available whenever and wherever you may be. You can search for these on the various app stores for iPhone and Android; some are free and some have a small cost attached. We have linked two examples of each; some of our therapists have used these apps, but these are for information purposes and Inclusion Thurrock have no links to, and are not responsible for, the content of any links outside of our website.
A really important part of this treatment programme is understanding your own particular triggers, issues and what changes you made to improve things for yourself. The Recovery Blueprint aspect of the course helps you to keep track of what’s working for you. Keep track of the things that you’ve tried, what has been helpful, and what you might need to do in the future to keep you feeling better. You will have received your Recovery Blueprint template in your handouts, but you can download it here in case you need a spare.