Centre for Cognitive Therapy - Surrey
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a guided approach enabling people to discover new ways to change their unhelpful thoughts, feelings and behaviour which impair their quality of life. For instance, that churning feeling in the pit of your stomach for no apparent reason or feeling of panic, embarrassment, frustration or helplessness when confronted with a particular situation.
CBT is neither inquisitional nor judgmental and it acknowledges the important fact that life experiences influence our reactions to events. However, dwelling on these events will only serve to exacerbate these feelings so instead a new and productive way is found to deal with the fallout that has affected our thoughts, emotions and behaviour.
Each of us is a unique individual, as we are all shaped differently through our genes, personal histories and experiences. It is this complex mixture that shapes our rules, beliefs, attitudes and thoughts that gives us our perception of the world. Perception is the inter-relation between our thoughts, emotions, behaviour and the event / subject in question. (see flowchart below)
When we enjoy a pleasurable experience that makes us feel good, we know that when a similar situation occurs again we can meet it with a welcoming confidence. Conversely, sometimes when the experience has been hurtful, bruising or distressing we try to avoid repeating the hurt by developing strategies so that we are better able to deal with the situation should it recur. Both these scenarios are stored in the memory ready to be called to mind and are perfectly reasonable and natural reactions.
However, we are not always in a calm reasoning state of mind. At this point, when faced with a situation, all sorts of feelings and reactions flood into the mind. It is as if we are at that point susceptible to automatically taking on board a fixed, unhelpful and negative mind set which is quickly triggered. This makes us perceive the outcome with fear and anxiety. It is this unreasoned and self fulfilling prophecy that lies at the heart of the problem. This dilemma and its solution have been known about for a very long time. It was the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (in 45 AD) who said "If you are disturbed by an external event it is not the event itself that disturbs you but rather your judgment of it."
Cognitive behavioural therapy enables a person who has been through a disturbing situation to take stock and, with guidance, to develop new and more helpful practical strategies to empower them. This outcome is achieved by a series of small, practical, progressive steps moving forward from now and is based on a well tested and proven approach. The outcome we aim for is for you to regain control and have the confidence to pursue your goals and purposes in life.
If this makes sense to you and you require some help with a particular problem please take the first step and phone one of the numbers which you will find under the link Clinic Locations. If you get the answer phone please do not hang up just leave your name and number and I will come back to you as quickly as I can.