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THROUGHOUT LIFE'S JOURNEY WE ENCOUNTER MANY CHALLENGES

BOOKSTORE

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BOOKS

HOLD ME TIGHT
SEVEN CONVERSATIONS
FOR A LIFETIME OF LOVE

by Dr. Sue Johnson M.A.Sc.

Heralded by the NY Times
and Time magazine as the
couple therapy with the
highest rate of success.


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BROKEN OPEN
HOW DIFFICULT TIMES CAN
HELP US GROW

by Elizabeth Lesser

This is a book about ordinary
people who do extraordinary
things. Elizabeth Lesser writes with an exquisite


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AUDIO

THROUGH THE DARK WOOD
FINDING MEANING IN THE
SECOND HALF OF LIFE

by James Hollis PH.D.

Have you ever looked at your
career, your relationships, or
your role in life and wondered, “Is this why I’m really here?”


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GUIDED MEDITATION
SIX ESSENTIAL PRACTICES TO
CULTIVATE LOVE, AWARENESS, AND WISDOM

by Jack Kornfield

Apply the six guided
meditation practices to
cultivate love, awareness,
and wisdom.

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ARTICLES
- Anxiety:The mental Health Issues of our times,  by Eleanor Caesar  Click Here
- Understanding Hypnosis,  by Eleanor Caesar  Click Here
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, by Eleanor Caesar  Click Here

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
By Eleanor Caesar, M.A.Sc., C.Psych.Assoc.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, or CBT as it is commonly known, is a therapeutic approach that combines the power of thought (cognition) with action (behaviour). It was developed from two originally separate branches of psychology, behaviourism and cognitive therapy.

History

Historically, the “behavioural” part of CBT was developed first, in the early 20th century. As the name implies, behaviourist therapists focused on helping clients develop different, more adaptive behaviours to the ones they were displaying. It was particularly effective in dealing with anxiety and fears, helping clients in a gradated, step-by-step basis overcome their anxieties or phobias by reacting in a different way towards whatever was feared. For example, to overcome a fear of spiders, clients would be gradually exposed to a spider, initially viewing it as a tiny speck on an opposite wall and, over many sessions and using relaxation and other techniques they had been taught, they would eventually be able to be at close range or even hold the spider.

As effective and powerful as these behavioural techniques were in helping clients overcome various presenting problems, they were not effective in treating depression, the “common cold” of psychological disorders.

In the meantime, during the middle of the century, the “cognitive revolution” had begun. It was developed around the discovery that people talk to themselves, and that the messages they gave themselves would greatly influence their feelings and behaviour. In the 1970s, a Canadian psychologist, Donald Meichenbaum, found that children talked to themselves when performing a task, and that this self-talk regulated their behaviour. Initially, Meichenbaum said, this self-talk is spoken out loud, but it increasingly becomes internalized as the child ages. Psychologists began to pay increasing attention to a person’s silent, internal dialogue, manifested in thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions or assumptions.

Tapes In Their Heads

Therapists realized that cognitive processes were generally just on the fringe of consciousness, and preceded very intense emotional reactions. In encouraging clients to bring these thoughts to conscious awareness, it was found that their self-talk was frequently overly negative or distorted. An example of a distorted thought might be “I’m not going to call my friend, even though I’m feeling very depressed, because she wouldn’t want to listen to my problems.” The distorted belief underneath that thought might be, “I am not a worthwhile person,” or “My role in life is always to give, never to have my own needs met.” A distorted perception or assumption might be, “Jim didn’t look at me today when I passed him in the hall. He must be angry with me. What did I do wrong?”

Frequently, the therapists noted that these maladaptive thoughts, perceptions and beliefs were developed during childhood and could have affected how clients saw themselves, their capabilities and life events for years. They had often been unconsciously playing negative and distorted “tapes in their heads” for decades, creating anxiety, depression and a sense of helplessness.

In the 1980s, David Burns, one of the leading American cognitive therapists, identified 10 common cognitive distortions people regularly make in his book Feeling Good. Since then, the self-help market has been deluged by a tidal wave of “how-to” books teaching the basics of changing one’s thinking, thereby changing one’s life.

Eventually, the two therapies of behaviourism and the cognitive therapies merged and formed Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, one of the most powerful, empirically successful therapeutic modalities in the world.

How CBT Works in Therapy

A main technique in CBT is to make the unconscious conscious, so that there can be an identification by both client and therapist together of the distorted thought patterns held by the client. Frequently they are asked to keep a diary of significant events and associated thoughts, feelings and behaviour. The beliefs, thoughts or assumptions that are unhelpful or distorted are then questioned and examined. A more adaptive and balanced cognitive script is then developed. Skills training, the “behavioural” component of CBT is taught in many instances and, together with the new way of thinking, the client is helped to try out new ways of behaving and reacting to situations they may have previously avoided or handled poorly.

Benefits of CBT

• Very flexible and compatible with other therapeutic approaches, ie. Interpersonal Therapy, Person-Centred approaches, Psycho-education, Mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Hypnotherapy, Pharmacology etc.
• Can be done with individuals, couples, families or groups
• Appropriate for a variety of treatment settings
• Can be used in a very structured way or in a less formal, more spontaneous manner.
• Is a mainstay of evidence-based treatments. Of all modalities, CBT has the most empirical support for successful outcome.

Which Issues Respond Well To CBT?

There is strong empirical support for the use of CBT for

• Anxiety and phobias
• Depression
• Eating disorders
• Health issues
• Substance abuse
• Marital therapy

(Resources quoted in the writing of this article included: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, an online course offered by the EAP provider Shepellfgi; Cognitive Hypnotherapy, Jason Aaronson Inc. N.J., 2000; Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy, Avon Books, N.Y., 1980.)

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