Myths and Facts around Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT therapy is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected. And that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle.
The aim of CBT therapy is to help you deal with overwhelming problems in a more positive way by breaking them down into smaller parts. Then to change these negative patterns to improve the way you feel.
There is a lot of misunderstanding as to what CBT therapy is or isn’t. Therefore here at CBT and Counselling Kent we have provided the answers to some common myths below.
Myth – CBT is too mechanical
FACT – Whilst it is true that CBT therapy has many tools in its toolbox, it is far from mechanical. Because CBT, like all other effective therapies, emphasises the importance of building a trusting a therapeutic relationship. CBT sees the relationship between the client and the therapist as the essential foundation of CBT.
Furthermore, knowing precisely when and how to best use the specific methods in the CBT toolbox, that is uniquely suited to each individual person is far more ‘organic’ than ‘mechanical’. In fact, a good CBT therapist understands the importance of a ‘good fit’ between the client and therapist and is likely refer someone to a colleague when the fit doesn’t work.
Myth: CBT only treats the symptoms – not the whole person.
FACT: When done properly, CBT, almost by definition, takes the holistic or ‘whole person’ approach and is not just about symptom reduction. CBT maintains that the mind and body interact. For instance, the way a person experiences his/her life (“I am feeling anxious about going to a party”) has a direct impact on their body (for example, the release of the stress hormone cortisol)
Similarly, the way a person thinks, about a particular situation, also influences their behaviour (“I am anxious, so I’m not going to go”) So, while symptom reduction is certainly among its goals, the success of cognitive behavioural therapy comes from treating the whole person.
Myth: CBT isn’t interested in the past
FACT: CBT therapists are very interested in their client’s history and past experiences. Because it’s our experiences that shape and influence who we are in the present. But unlike traditional psychotherapy, which places great emphasis on the past and tries to provide insight into it. CBT therapy does take a good look at the past. This is to establish where a particular problem might have begun, but it doesn’t dwell on it. CBT views the past as a point of interest but focusses more on moving a client forward.
A good CBT therapists will work to understand the history and experiences of the person they are working with. This will enable them to understand if any factors might still be therapeutically relevant.
For more information about CBT therapy click How CBT Therapy Works