How are you all? Today, I want to speak to you about CBT and explain a bit about what it is and how it can help people, as well as some of the cons of it.
So, I’ll start with a bit of background on my experience of CBT. I had my first session of CBT for social anxiety when I was around 15 years old and I attended CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) – side note: Camhs did not help me whatsoever, but we’ll talk more about that in another post.
My experience of CBT at Camhs was…not the best. I completed 1 session, decided it wasn’t for me and refused to do another session. This isn’t to say CBT is unhelpful for everyone, but frankly 15 year old depressed me was not in the right mindset to complete a course of therapy. The irony that my therapy was for anxiety, and it made me anxious…
Aaaaanyway.. I then tried a bit of psychotherapy (will discuss in another post) and other than that hadn’t done any more therapy until this year. I went to my doctors a few weeks ago, and he referred me to IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological therapies), which is a service used to treated anxiety and depression in adults. It’s an online service that you use once a week to discuss your feelings with a therapist suited to you and complete your course of CBT for that week. Honestly, I did find this quite helpful. I ended up getting referred to another service called EDIT (Early Detection and Intervention Team) but, again, I’ll tell you all about that in another post once I have some more about it to update you on – I’ve only had the assessment so far! Back to what I was saying.. This course of CBT I found much more helpful because I actually tried. I eradicated the ‘this isn’t going to work for me’ mindset and forced myself to co-operate with my therapist. Don’t get me wrong, I think I need MUCH more face-to-face therapy to combat my social anxiety, but it was nice to have someone to ramble to every week.
That leads me to now, where I will be starting CBT for bipolar with the EDIT team in a few months. Obviously I haven’t started yet, but I’ll let you know how it goes in due course!
So, that’s a bit about my backgroud with CBT. Overall, I’ve completed 7 weeks of CBT which of course isn’t a lot, but I do feel it’s enough for me to explain to you guys what CBT actually is, what it consists of and what its aims are. CBT is a type of therapy that aims to change our problematic thought patterns and behaviour. An example of this is when I did CBT for my social anxiety: they taught me that it’s possible I find social situations harder as I run away from them to protect myself, which in turn makes me even more afraid as I haven’t allowed myself to stay in the situation to teach myself it’s safe. How will you ever overcome a fear if you don’t face it head on ? This definitely helped me as the more I’ve forced myself to leave the house alone, the easier it has got!
CBT primarily focuses on the cycle of how our thoughts and beliefs (cognitive) affect our behaviours and actions. (behavioural). An example of this with depression is that an individual may isolate themselves from their friends as they feel low/depressed, which in turn makes them more depressed/low as they feel isolated from their friends, which then causes them to isolate themselves even more as they feel low. Does that make sense? It’s a never-ending cycle, and that cycle is what CBT aims to help people climb out of.
Personally, I think the theory of CBT is extremely valid and the therapy can help many, many people. Something I will say is that you 100% have to WANT to recover/get better for it to work, it’s not something you can go into half-hearted expecting it to cure you. You have to put the work in, and you have to have faith it will help you. For me, it only worked as I got older and co-operated more. It only works if you give it a chance.
Do you guys have any questions? Have you attended CBT yourself? How did you find it? Let me know down in the comments section of this post!
Lots of love,