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Natasha Williams
Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy service for Adults, Children and Adolescents
   
 

What is Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy (CBT)

 

CBT is a talking therapy and can help people who are experiencing a wide range of emotional difficulties. CBT can help you to change how you think ('Cognitive') and what you do ('Behaviour'). These changes can help you to feel better. Unlike some of the other talking treatments, it focuses on the 'here and now' problems and difficulties. Instead of focusing on the causes of your distress or symptoms in the past, it looks for ways to improve your state of mind now.

The basis of CBT is that beliefs that have been formed within childhood and early adult experiences can affect what people think, how people feel and how people behave. Consequently, during times of mental distress, people think differently/negatively about themselves and what happens to them. Thoughts can therefore become extreme and unhelpful, and can affect how a person feels. This results in a person behaving in a way that prolongs their distress. See the below diagram to see how thoughts, feelings and behaviours are connected. CBT practitioners therefore help each person identify and change their extreme thinking and unhelpful behaviour. In doing this, the result is often a major improvement in how the person feels and lives.

Stress

 

What is Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR)

  When a person is involved in a distressing event, they may feel overwhelmed and their brain may be unable to process the information like a normal memory. The distressing memory seems to become frozen on a neurological level. When a person recalls the distressing memory, the person can re-experience what they saw, heard, smelt, tasted or felt, and this can be quite intense. Sometimes the memories are so distressing, the person tries to avoid thinking about the distressing event to avoid experiencing the distressing feelings. By alternating left-right stimulation of the brain with eye movements, sounds or taps during EMDR, can stimulate the frozen or blocked information processing system. In the process, the distressing memories seem to lose their intensity so that the memories are less distressing and seem more like 'ordinary' memories. The effect is believed to be similar to that which occurs naturally during REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) when your eyes rapidly move from side to side.

EMDR is a powerful psychological treatment method that is used to treat psychological trauma arising from experiences such as war related experiences, childhood sexual and/or physical abuse or neglect, natural disaster, assault, surgical trauma, road traffic accidents and workplace accidents. Since its original development, EMDR is also increasingly used to help individuals with other issues and performance anxiety. EMDR has been found to be of benefit to children as well as adults.
 

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