Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Most of us can appreciate that if we have a negative thought eg I am not good enough, this can lead to a negative feeling ie we feel inadequate, sad and depressed.  This can then lead to a negative behaviour eg withdrawn and not wanting to go out.  This can then reinforce the original thought of I am not good enough and then the cycle continues into a vicious cycle.

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, shoulders back, chest out, and try to be sad.  Now look down, slump, and try to be sad.  If you did this exercise correctly, you will find that it is more difficult to be sad while looking up and easier to be sad when you are looking downwards.

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 negative mood.

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