In simple terms, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT tackles normal human problems by trying to change the way we approach life, how we think and behave. Sometimes the problems we face in our lives are not easily solved or changed – sick elderly parents, difficulties with children, redundancies, money worries – but a good coping mechanism is changing the way we view these problems and how we react to them.
CBT has been very successfully used to treat anxiety and depression when other interventions such as medication are undesirable or not possible. Now it is being considered an invaluable tool to help resolve other problems such as relationship difficulties – see here for more info: https://www.carolinebronte.co.uk/cognitive-behavioural-therapy-cbt
How does CBT work?
It is based on the premise that as human beings, our emotions, rational thought and physical feelings are all inter-connected. Once negativity enters the circle, it becomes a vicious circle and it is almost impossible to break out of the never-ending roundabout. CBT aims to dismantle this circular problem by taking apart the issues and problems, breaking them down into smaller components and stopping the endless downward spiral of negative thoughts, depression, and anxiety.
CBT does not look for resolutions from earlier problems in people’s lives, rather it focuses solely on the here and now. It is also not about complicated and long-winded solutions, pathways towards some mythical better place. It is about making immediate changes to someone’s current state of mind.
CBT has a lot of relevance to any problems which are behavior orientated, these include:-
- Eating disorders, anorexia and bulimia
- OCD – Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Panic attacks
- PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Phobias such as claustrophobia and fear of flying
It is not surprising therefore that CBT is now being used successfully in relationship counseling and guidance. Many enduring problems in relationships center around ingrained behavioral patterns and so it seems only common sense to use it as a tool to help resolve these.
How can CBT help in overcoming difficulties within a relationship?
Coping with our own behaviors can be challenging enough but trying to sort out the complexities within a relationship where there are two people to consider is challenging to say the least. CBT helps couples understand and identify why they behave as they do and hold certain beliefs both about themselves and their partner.
Through this, it is possible to identify the triggers which spark off these behaviors which in turn lead to conflict. By dismantling and understanding established patterns of behavior, it is possible to alter these and heal a relationship, taking it to a whole new level.
CBT has the merit that it strikes to the root cause of problems and, if couples are really committed, fairly rapid progress can be made. It can, therefore, offer a lifeline to those who have struggled endlessly to resolve their relationship differences without success. This therapy is not without its challenges and the process can be upsetting and emotionally disturbing but, as most couples will readily admit, something has to change and no-one wants to carry on as they are.