Stress, anxiety and depression are becoming increasingly common for many people especially in these challenging times. When we get caught up in difficult emotions, our thinking automatically becomes more judgemental and critical. We tend to globally evaluate ourselves and others in unhelpful rigid and extreme ways. It becomes harder to stay focused on important tasks and goals, as our minds seem to automatically wander from excessive thinking and analysing about the past (maintaining depression), to worrying about the future (maintaining anxiety). We can find ourselves easily running on automatic pilot, comparing ourselves to others and how ideally things ‘should’ be, and we can become easily angry when others don’t do what they ‘should’ do. We can further criticise ourselves for not being 'happy', 'calm', 'strong', 'loved', 'successful', and 'good' enough. We can feel isolated from others, believing that we are alone with these ‘awful’ feelings and that others would criticise and reject us, if they knew what we were really feeling.
CBT can help you find a way out of this vicious struggle cycle with extreme thinking, difficult emotions and challenging urges. CBT works to enable you you to recognise and let go of unhelpful, rigid and extreme thoughts and thinking styles, as well as learn skills to handle difficult feelings (body sensations, urges and impulses). CBT has become popular due to: the evidence that it can work even short term treatments; its active goal orientation and it's focus on the client developing as a self-therapist.
CBT is not a narrow specific form of therapy, and it has been developing and evolving a lot recenlty. During the 1990’s many new CBT approaches started to emerge. Cognitive Behavioural Therapies, such as: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT); Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT); Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT); Behaviour Activation (BA) and Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP) amongst others are referred to as the “third wave” of CBT (the first wave being a more purely behavioural approach). This wave of CBT’s are seen as sister therapies to each other largely due to their focus on Acceptance, Mindfulness and a return to Behavioural principles. These newer forms of CBT, especially ACT are becoming increasingly popular amongst CBT therapists, and they add new tools to the CBT therapist toolkit.