Maybe stress, maybe anxiety, maybe fear, maybe anger. If an emotional part of you is consistently taking over and you’re experiencing a substantial impact to your quality of life because of it, if a part of you feels out of control; Capital Choice’s Ottawa Cognitive Behavioural Therapy service is here to help.
There are methods available to people in your position that can help you end these experiences, an entire branch of psychology called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Capital Counseling can give you access to a wide range of specialists here in Ottawa.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is its own breed of psychology, totally distinct from what most people generally consider psychology and therapy to be. The popular image of therapy is a man or woman in a sweater-vest asks you about your feelings as you lay on a comfy couch, as he or she tries to find unconscious meanings behind them to formulate a diagnosis of a patients’ problems. This is not CBT.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a problem-focused form of psychological practice that focuses on finding the cognitive ‘roots’ of a person’s automatic negative behaviours so that they can work around them. It’s about finding concrete errors in your cognitive processing, the way you think about and react to the world, and directly addressing them. Many people prefer Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to the conventional counselling or psychiatric approaches because it presents distinct problems and achievable solutions, a problem-seen problem-solved approach.
How Do I Do It?
The first thing anyone learns when walking down the long road towards peace of mind with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is the ‘triangle’ of interaction between one’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviour. Not in any hierarchical order of priority, each of these things has an equal impact on informing our general state of mind. The way you feel changes the way you think, which changes the way you behave. Your thoughts change the way you act, which changes the way you feel; etc.
Most people do not spend much time or energy being mindful and aware of the way they think, act, and feel. Changing this is the first step to performing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
What Does It Look Like?
This is where, for example, a person fails at a particular task (behaviour), and thinks that this indicates they are a failure in general (thought), leading to anxiety, stress, and despair (feeling). Because of this constant feeling, they proceed to frantically over-exert themselves at every task they encounter (behaviour), because they think this will reduce their stress, when in fact it increases it.
Because they don’t spend much time being mindful of their thoughts, actions, and feelings; chances are this person has no idea that they are prone to this harmful process. A cognitive therapist would first expose this person to the fact that they are routinely experiencing this pattern. Though its rare, sometimes this is all it takes to substantially reduce the problem.
More likely, this ‘over-generalizer’ will be coached on how to first be aware when this pattern pops up in his/her thoughts, feelings, and actions; and be given alternative approaches and tools that he or she can use to stop the pattern dead in its tracks. Next time this person fails at a task, they are coached to not believe the first thought that they are a failure, but replace it with the idea that (for example) they are one step closer to success.
The first few times this is likely to have much of an impact, but after repeatedly telling oneself this after multiple task failures, this belief grows stronger. Like working out a muscle, repeatedly practicing a thought allows it to grow stronger, and eventually it becomes strong enough to replace the negative thought entirely, and thus end the bad feelings and negative behaviour once and for all.
Like working out in general, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a long road. You work particular ‘muscles’, in this case specific thoughts, behaviours, and feelings, repeatedly and over time grow stronger. It’s a simple process, but takes time and energy. Fortunately, unlike the gym, with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy your weights never change and you always get stronger.
What are its Advantages?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is very approachable when compared to other psychological and psychiatric approaches to therapy. Though it works well in conjunction with all of them, people often prefer Cognitive Behavioural Therapy because:
1) It is shown to be just as effective as psychotropic medications for treating depression, anxiety, PTSD, tics, substance abuse, etc.
2) CBT is action-oriented, and therefore more approachable to those who consider themselves to be task or goal-oriented, or are uncomfortable with feeling-oriented psychological methods.
3) CBT provides measurable results. CBT provides the person practicing it a ‘checklist’ of sorts that they can reference to always be aware of their past progress, current position in their program, and future goals.
4) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy programs are finite. Other approaches to therapy have indefinite timelines, often requiring lifelong visits to ones therapist for psychological ‘maintenance’. CBT offers people the opportunity to engage in a program with a definite end.
Many people have serious doubts about psychology, therapy, and counselling in general because they believe them to be seemingly endless, expensive processes that has questionable effects and no apparent end. This is not the case with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. It offers the person practicing it clear objectives, clear effects, and goals that can be accomplished. Once the process is done, short of a brief post-treatment assessment and follow up, the process is done.
What Are the Benefits of a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, like working out, is something that can be done alone. Many elect to take the DIY cognitive behavioural therapy route for a variety of reasons, but it’s important to recognize the value of professional help if you’re looking to engage in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. The most important factor a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist can help you with is the identification of your mental processes, which is by far the most difficult aspect of properly performing CBT. The problem with identifying your own thoughts is that you are your own thoughts, so the process of identifying your patterns of thinking with your own thinking is very difficult to do effectively. Having an external perspective, moreover a trained and experienced one, will put you on a quicker and easier path towards the peace of mind you are seeking from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Capital Choice Counselling has access to Ottawa’s largest network of therapists that specialize in a broad range of psychological disciplines, including CBT. If you’re looking for a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, or in fact any type of therapy at all, feel free to get in touch. Seeking therapy can be a daunting task, ironically contributing stress and anxiety when you’re trying to reduce it, but Capital Choice Counselling can help you skip the hassle of finding a therapist that fits your needs and schedule.
Even if you’ve been carrying them your entire life, the problems you deal with on a daily basis don’t have to be permanent. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy offers those who use it an approachable program that works. Perhaps the most rigorously studied form of psychological counselling, it has been demonstrated time and time again to be effective. So if you want to know if maybe Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is right for you, please get in touch.