Treatment Approach to Counselling
Our approach to counselling is guided by the principles of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). CBT is a method of treatment that focuses on the power of people’s thoughts in determining their mood and behaviour. As the individual interprets the world, he/she creates the emotions and behaviour to interact with people and to respond to the situations in life.
CBT assists clients by:
- directly challenging thoughts and beliefs that lead to dysfunction and distressing emotions, and
- addressing ineffective behaviours or coping responses.
With CBT… We learn to THINK differently
We learn to ACT differently
CBT is not a method of ‘positive thinking’. Rather, it is a method that focuses on ‘realistic’ thinking.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is an active, directive, time-limited, and structured approach that is used to treat a variety of psychological disorders, including depression, anxiety, and trauma.
In the practice of CBT, a trusting and effective working relationship with a client who is motivated to change is essential for success.
“Man’s conceptions (or misconceptions) of events rather than the events themselves are the key to his emotional upsets.”
- Aaron T. Beck
CBT begins with establishing a collaborative working relationship as the context of the presenting problem is discussed. Once the presenting problem is understood, the specifics of mood, behaviour, thoughts, and beliefs are used to conceptualize the work that will be done by setting goals for therapy.
Specifically, sessions are guided by an agenda, which is developed collaboratively at each session. Behaviours, thoughts, and feelings are the focus of the work. Between sessions, action plans are designed to solidify new behaviours, or to test new thoughts and beliefs so that the client can achieve their goals.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy was developed in order to create effective techniques that were proven by research. Dr. Aaron T. Beck, the universally recognized Founder of Cognitive Therapy, has been a very influential therapist over the past twenty-five years. According to a 2007 National Institute of Mental Health study in the U.S. by Joan Cook of Columbia University:
“Beck not only developed a systematic model for brief therapy based on a notion that distorted thinking sustains depression and anxiety but he also perfected empirically tested techniques. In the process of providing evidence for the effectiveness of these techniques he published 20 books and 514 academic journal articles.”
“Our life is what our thoughts make it. A man will find that as he alters his thoughts toward things and other people, things and other people will alter towards him.”
- James Allen
Current research supports the effectiveness of CBT, indicating that CBT is one of the most researched forms of psychotherapy with over 325 published outcome studies investigating its effectiveness. The analysis of these studies indicated excellent outcomes for “…unipolar depression, generalized anxiety, panic disorder, social phobia, posttraumatic stress disorder and childhood depression and anxiety.” (Clinical Psychology Review vol. 26, 2006, p. 17-31 by Butler et al).