Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
CBT is one of the most up-to-date psychological therapies that is offered today. The basic principle of CBT is that our thoughts (cognitions), our behaviour, and our feelings are all interconnected. When we are experiencing difficulties we can look at each of the individual elements to see how they are contributing to maintaining our psychological distress.
There have been a lot of research trials that have been conducted looking at whether CBT is an effective therapy and it has demonstrated very good results in helping people with a wide range of issues.
The term CBT is now considered an ‘umbrella’ term, which means that this approach includes traditional CBT, schema therapy (looking at longstanding ‘core beliefs’ or ‘schemas’) and also mindfulness based approaches (borrowing ideas from more eastern medicine philosophies) integrating skills of meditation and compassion into therapy.
The term ‘integrative’ i.e. the process of integrating, refers to drawing on different psychological models/theories and ideas to understand and help people to cope with their distress.
The models that can be drawn upon include;
Attachment theory and psychodynamic ideas; these models for understanding distress explore an individual’s history and their early relationships to see how these have shaped how individuals relate to themselves (what we think of ourselves), other people (how do we function in relationships) and the world more broadly. Our early relationships shape our ‘relationship templates’ that we carry through into our adult lives and sometimes these can be problematic.
‘Systemic’ ideas; Looking at how the ‘system’ that is being operated within is affecting an individual. The system surrounding an individual, be it their family system, work system, or cultural/societal system, may all function to keep an individual in a ‘stuck’ position, struggling with their distress.
Acceptance & Commitment Therapy; Looking at how to disengage from the internal battles that we get stuck with in our minds and emotional selves and start to work alongside our difficulties in a helpful way to commit to an identified valued direction in life.
Compassion Focused Therapy; Drawing heavily on evolutionary psychology to identify the three main drive systems that we operate within and how to cultivate a stronger ‘caring and soothing’ system by becoming more self compassionate. These ideas are particularly helpful for people that are highly self critical.