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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, also referred to as CBT, is an evidence-based psychological treatment proven to be effective through rigorous scientific research.

This means that CBT treatment is not based on what people think might work, but what has been proven to work.

Evidence based treatment can increase the probability that a problem is identified accurately and treated effectively. This can prevent the problem being drawn out unnecessarily and decrease the chances of it coming back (i.e. relapse).

In particular, CBT has been shown to be effective in the management of anxiety and depression, and is as (if not more) effective as treatment with medication alone.

Research also shows that people experience anxiety and depression are less likely to relapse when treated with CBT. They tend to get better and stay better.

CBT focuses on the way people think ("cognitive") and act ("behavioural"). The concept behind CBT is that our thoughts about a situation affect how we feel (emotionally and physically) and how we behave in that situation. As human beings, we give meaning to events that are happening around us. However, we often don't realize that two people can give two very different meanings to the same event.

It is, the meanings we assign to the situation that affect how we feel and act, not the situation itself.

These meanings are not always accurate, realistic or helpful. Unhelpful thoughts lead to unpleasant emotions and unhelpful behaviours (i.e. avoidance) that reinforces our negative thoughts and maintain the problem. In other words our thoughts, feelings and behaviours can interact and influence each other to create a vicious cycle.

We all have negative thoughts every now and then, but if we consistently apply negative meanings to events, then we are likely to experience problems with anxiety and/or depression.

Cutting to core beliefs to treat symptoms is also helpful. Ideas like "I must be perfect, I am worthless, or I am a failure" are extreme and can be explored collaboratively in a safe and comfortable environment. Strategies vary based on client need and can include guided discovery, behavioural interventions, relaxation training, journaling, exposure hierarchies (i.e. for agoraphobia or other phobias), use of role play and/or imagery to name a few.

Clients are invited to share thoughts and feelings in a caring, supportive and non-judgemental environment. Confidentiality is respected and is always discussed and agreed upon prior to therapy.

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