Module 11 - Psychological Therapies and Social Interventions

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive therapies aim to help a person understand the internal thoughts, feelings and emotions which impact upon a person’s patterns of behaviour and which can be associated with poor mental health.  In cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), the therapist attempts to change one or more undesirable thoughts and emotions which hopefully will lead to behavioural change.  The field of cognitive-behavioural therapy is based on the premise that ‘certain undesirable emotions and thoughts cause undesirable patterns of living'.  These thoughts or emotions are targeted for change, control, or elimination. Cognitive-behavioural theory examines the links between the interlinked triad of thoughts, emotions and actions. For example a person who is depressed may think that they are useless (low self esteem). This can cause them to feel more depressed and anxious. This in turn prevents them from undertaking a necessary activity (anything from doing the vacuuming to sitting an exam) which reinforces the thought that they were useless. The therapists attempt to focus on one or more of these 3 areas;  that is, - the thoughts that may lead to depression or anxiety; the emotional responses to the thoughts which are undesired by the person- (many people don’t like feeling frightened and depressed).  - the actions-  What the client does to ‘get rid of’ the thoughts or the emotion may also be unwanted e.g overeating, locking  themselves indoors. The general principles are that by altering or eliminating the negative thoughts and emotions, the behaviour will change for the positive. In cognitive-behavioural therapy the therapist may use a combination of behavioural and cognitive techniques to improve a person’s mental health. Early in therapy it can be easier for people to work on changing their behaviour as opposed to considering complex or distressing emotional issues. Using a diary is used for daily mood monitoring as well as recording homework and its effect. Therapy aims to challenge some of the thoughts and core beliefs that a person has about themself. The general principle is that by challenging negative thoughts and emotions they can be overcome and exchanged for  more positive thoughts and emotions
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