CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) is a structured psychological therapy which aims to help individuals change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours as these often contribute to their psychological difficulties. Research evidence suggests that CBT is an effective therapy for treating depression, anxiety, phobias, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders, addictions and sexual difficulties.
During therapy, clients are guided to identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts and assumptions and are taught how to elicit adaptive thoughts and rules for living. CBT aims to help people think in a realistic rather than a negative way. As well as working with thoughts, CBT addresses these behaviours that perpetuate clients' psychological difficulties. By implementing different behaviours, clients often challenge previous maladaptive thoughts and strengthen their new adaptive thoughts. In effect therapy continues in between sessions, as clients are asked to target their unhelpful thoughts and behaviours on a daily basis. This requires a great deal of commitment from the part of the client.
CBT has evolved since it was first introduced in the 1960's. Today, several therapy approaches fall within the CBT tradition. One of the latest developments in CBT is Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) which combines a form of meditation with elements of cognitive therapy. MBCT belongs to the third wave of cognitive behavioural therapies together with Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). At Sloane Psychology we have in depth experience in practicing third wave CBT therapies.
Schema FocusedTherapy is an innovative therapy that integrates elements of CBT, psychodynamic and gestalt therapy into a comprehensive approach which targets long standing emotional and relational difficulties. Schema Therapy addresses clients’ unhelpful schemas which refer to stable, rigid and pervasive patterns of thoughts, memories and emotions that affect the way clients' behave in a range of situations. Schemas develop during childhood and elaborate thoughout adult life. For example if a child has experienced abandonment (death or serious illness of a significant other, parental separation etc) and as a result of this she or he has developed the abandonment schema, as an adult they may cling to others out of fear of being abandoned or they may avoid relationships all together out of fear of being abandoned. Such behaviours though lead to the perpetuation of the schema rather than schema healing. Schema focused therapy aims to help clients change those schemas that create suffering.
During therapy, the therapist employs experiential, cognitive and behavioural techniques in order to help clients overcome their maladaptive schemas. The quality of the therapeutic relationship is a significant determinant for schema healing.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an innovative therapeutic method which employs bilateral stimulation of both hemispheres of the brain in order to help clients work through a range of distressing memories. Bilateral stimulation occurs when two sides of the body are stimulated alternately by incorporating side-to-side eye movements, short tones heard through earphones or mild taps to either side of the body.
EMDR was developed by Dr Francine Shapiro in the late 1980’s following her observation that unpleasant thoughts became less distressing when she incorporated side-to-side eye movements whilst focusing on the distressing thoughts. According to EMDR theory, old disturbing memories are often disconnected from other memories and experiences which contain information that could help the individuals to overcome their trauma. By employing EMDR and side-to-side stimulation clients are helped to connect the disturbing experiences to adaptive information stemming from non taumatic experiences. This process leads to the resolution of the trauma. Traumas may vary from life-threatening experiences to dissapointments experienced in childhood.
To date, a significant number of research studies have shown EMDR to be an effective therapy for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For this reason, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommend EMDR and trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for the treatment of PTSD. Despite the fact that EMDR was originally developed for the treatment of PTSD it is now used to treat a wide range of disorders (panic attacks, anxiety disorders, work performance, pain etc).