C.B.T. explained

                                                          What is CBT


C.B.T. is Cognitive ( thinking) Behavioural ( action) Therapy ( improvement)

The basic starting point of CBT is :

1.     What you believe affects how you feel

2.     How you feel affects how you act

It is more understandable if I give you an example:

A little old lady walks along a street at night, it is dark  and she is nervous, she believes the streets are dangerous at this time : ahead under a street lamp  a group of young people in hoodies and jeans  are  hanging around. She feels  apprehensive, that they will mug her, she crosses the road and her body language changes as she shrinks  to hopefully pass unnoticed.


At the same time, in the opposite direction, a tall broad built man approaches a group of youngsters who are waiting for a  minibus to collect them to go to a choir contest in town. The man has a shaved head, tattoos , big boots and a stern appearance, he is carrying a sports bag. They believe he is a drug dealer  they feel he is aggressive , they gather together and pretend to be engrossed in conversation and do not make eye contact hoping he will pass by.


Jake is not a confident man, he has been attacked  as a teenager, he believes people want to hurt him, he feels threatened by his surroundings and resolved to create an image for himself that would deter others from attacking him. He is on his way to the gym and  is dreading the crowd of youngsters  picking on him as he passes so he puts on an extra swagger as he walks and holds a hard expression on his face


In reality all of those people just wanted to get on with their own  life without attack or intimidation. What they believe  about the environment in which they are placed affects how they feel and therefore how they behave.


If the old lady had known this was a Church group waiting to go to a choir contest would she have felt differently, would she have wished them good luck as she passed on the way to the shop?


If the group knew that Jake  was a talented juggler who spends his time entertaining at a kids hospice would they have reacted differently


If Jake had known the nature of the group would he have felt more comfortable, would he have smiled at them as he passed.


We all act on what we believe to be true, if we get that part wrong  we can have all kinds of problems, things that affect our lives in pretty dramatic ways—believe you are worthless and you will achieve nothing, believe you are thick and you will attempt nothing, believe that everyone is better than you and you will stay at the bottom of the heap.

Brutal but true------- but also fixable.


Change the way you think about things and you change the outcome. It sounds too simple to be true but in fact allowing yourself to think about something differently takes a big effort.


CBT says  everything we do we learned to do----eating, walking, talking, forming opinions, living in communities. Everything we do is learned so sometimes we learn things, strategies that work in a certain set of circumstances, that are not appropriate in other circumstances.  It is OK to shout, whistle and sing  for your team at a football match, it would be inappropriate to cheer for the bride or groom during a wedding service.

So sometimes we need to realise that actions that we take are no longer suitable, that we need to change our behaviours to fit a new set of situations.

To do this we need to look at the problem, what is it that we are doing, think why we feel the way we do and what is it that we believe that makes us feel that way. It is like unravelling a favourite  knitted jumper that no longer fits us  to make  a new one that suits our current style.

It can take a while, it takes effort--- long held views may not change easily BUT by looking at where and what we want to be  and visualising what that looks, feels, tastes and sounds like we can make dramatic  ( Life changing) alterations.

 If you  think this could work for you and if you need help—contact me. The details are on the website.


You can also read more at http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/expertadvice/treatmentswellbeing/cbt.aspx

The is the Royal College of Psychiatrists site.




© Martin Williams 2013/15/16