How does Cognitive Behaviour Therapy differ from other kinds of Counselling Psychotherapy or anti-depressant agents?
CBT is an Emotions Awareness therapy that moves easily in and out of the past and the present, but it is however, essentially a solution focused-forward thinking belief system. Whilst it is true that some emotional disorders may have their roots in the past, the solutions always remain firmly in the present. Undoubtedly psychotherapy or past regression can provide insight or explanations about our thoughts and behaviour but ultimately backward thinking cannot propel forward motion. In the end it is always necessary to directly address the thinking and behaviour that is responsible for our problems in the 'here and now'.
Even if you fully understand how your past has contributed to your current state of mind, you still have to make changes if what you are doing isn't working for you. The fact is, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is the only treatment that fully acknowledges the significance of the cause and effect connection between our thinking and our wellbeing. When we feel well on the inside, feeling good on the outside is a natural consequence. Once we recognise the root cause of feeling low, emotional difficulties or nagging thoughts, we realise that medication cannot solve our problems in the long term, we must first learn to feel good where it counts most, in our deepest authentic self.
The reason CBT is more successful than other psychological treatments is because it is essentially a learning / unlearning and re-learning process. It is about acquiring new skills, challenging negative perceptions, understanding what we can and cannot change, acknowledging personal strengths and increasing self awareness. Through deeper understanding we can build stronger resilience and renewed self confidence leading to greater feeling of lasting empowerment. This new sense of mastery and self belief significantly reduces the rate of relapse, as this preventative approach provides effective skills with which to weather life's ups and downs.
Even the most advanced medication cannot begin to compare with the benefits that CBT can accomplish. It is a fact, that one in six of the adult population will suffer from the debilitating impact of clinical depression, anxiety disorder or stress related illness at some time in their life. Many others suffer from chronic preventable misery and whilst it is true that most doctors fully acknowledge the superior benefits and cost effectiveness of Cognitive Therapy, they unfortunately do not readily have this course of treatment at their disposal. The prescribing of anti depressants therefore, is usually the inevitable outcome even when doctors agree this is often not the best way forward.