CBT & EMDR Explained

What is CBT?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (or CBT) and EMDR are the most evidence based therapies for a wide range of difficulties. CBT, broadly speaking, understands problems by making links between thoughts, feelings, physical symptoms and behaviours. Treatment uses a number of techniques that are proven to change vicious cycles that develop in these areas.

Using CBT, I look towards addressing how you interact with thoughts that tend not to be helpful, such as "I am going to fail", "I look stupid", "I can't cope", "I'll be in trouble" or "I've done something wrong". I also guide you to understand the science behind the physical symptoms and emotions that occur during stressful experiences before ultimately helping you to adapt your behaviour. In CBT, I am keen to work alongside you in achieving your therapy goals, which we will define together during assessment. CBT is a structured therapy and differs from a traditional counselling approach in that it gives you concrete skills and tools to manage your difficulties whilst still allowing you to explore what is happening in a warm therapeutic environment.
I mostly use a type of CBT called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in my work with clients. This focus' on how we interact with our thoughts and emotions using techniques such as diffusion (which encourages distance from our thoughts as oppose to specifically challenging them). ACT places an importance on our 'values' and living in accordance with these no matter what thoughts and feelings show up. This has been extremely effective in my own life and the lives of those I work with who have found it to be an empowering and fresh approach. Check out my blog post on ACT if you would like to learn more.

What is EMDR?

EMDR (discovered by a lady called Francine Shapiro) is a relatively new therapy, with a rapidly increasing evidence base. It is a cutting edge treatment that can be used alongside CBT or in some cases, instead of CBT. The basic premise is that we are all shaped by experiences in our past and in some cases, negative past events we have faced are formed as 'trauma' in our minds. Recent research has shown that working on these experiences directly can have an incredibly positive impact on how we feel in the present. During my assessment session, I will ascertain, in collaboration with you, which therapy will work most effectively with your goals.

An EMDR session involves bilateral stimulation which entails engaging each side of your brain alternately using eye movements or tapping. The bilateral stimulation is normally not noticed once the session begins as the therapy focus' on your mind naturally healing itself. The therapy does not involve hypnosis or anything subconscious, in fact, it is important that you are fully aware of what is happening and absolutely in control of the process. I can explain more about this during our initial assessment, however I have had incredibly positive results working with EMDR during my time in the NHS and privately. For more information on EMDR, visit the EMDR association.

I have also recently trained in EMDR flash therapy with Philip Manfield, who developed the technique. This is a revolutionary type of trauma treatment with a growing evidence base which has had great reception from the clients I have used it with.
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