Farishta Jalal MBABCP, MBPsS Counselling in Kings Norton, Birmingham

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT, is a talking therapy that has been proven to help treat a wide range of emotional and physical health conditions in adults, young people and children. According to CBT, thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are all interconnected. How we think about or perceive a situation affects how we feel and the way we act. In turn, our actions can affect how we think and feel. The way our body feels is linked to our emotions and our thoughts.

In CBT, the therapist and client work together to identify any dysfunctional thoughts or behaviours that are maintaining the problems, and thinking about whether these could be changed. CBT works at different levels of cognition; the negative automatic thoughts, the underlying assumptions and rules for living and the maladaptive core belief systems underlying more chronic and complex presentations.

Homework is an essential part of therapy. The therapist and client agree on a set of actions or behaviours to be completed between the sessions in order to achieve speedy and long-term benefits from therapy.

There is a great deal of research evidence for the efficacy of CBT in treating depression and anxiety disorders. This research has been carefully reviewed by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). NICE provides independent, evidence-based guidance for the NHS on the most effective ways to treat disease and ill health. CBT is recommended as a first line treatment by NICE for the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a trauma therapy developed by psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro.

EMDR incorporates elements of cognitive-behavioural therapy with bilateral eye movements or other forms of rhythmic, left-right stimulation. One of the key elements of EMDR is “dual stimulation.” During treatment, you are asked to think or talk about memories, triggers, and painful emotions while simultaneously focusing on your therapist’s moving finger or another form of bilateral stimuli. In a typical EMDR therapy session, you focus on traumatic memories and associated negative emotions and beliefs while tracking your therapist’s moving finger with your eyes as it moves back and forth across your field of vision. Other forms of external stimuli that may be used in EMDR therapy include bilateral tactile sensations and sounds (e.g. alternating hand taps or a chime that pans back and forth from ear to ear).

At the time of a traumatic event, strong emotions interfere with our ability to completely process the experience and one moment becomes “frozen in time.” Recalling the traumatic event may feel as though the person is reliving the event all over again because the images, smells, sounds, and feelings are still there and can be triggered in the present. When activated, these memories cause a negative impact on our daily functioning and interfere with the way we see ourselves and our world, and how we relate to others.

EMDR therapy appears to directly affect the brain, “unfreezing” the traumatic memories, allowing you to resolve them. Over time the disturbing memory and associated beliefs, feelings, sensations become “digested” or worked through until you are able to think about the event without reliving it. The memory is still there, but it is less upsetting.

EMDR is an effective therapy for the treatment of a wide range of psychological traumas including, childhood sexual abuse, bullying, domestic violence, one-off traumas and complex traumas.

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