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  • Writer's pictureEllen

My journey with the cognitive behavioural approach

Updated: Jun 16, 2023

What is CBC?


So, what is CBC? You may have heard of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) which is a form of therapy widely used by mental health professionals to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders.


Cognitive-behavioural

approaches emphasise that how we respond, physically and emotionally to events, is largely based on our views of them, not by the events themselves. Through reframing unhelpful mindsets, we can implement alternative viewpoints that may be more effective in aiding problem-solving and changing behaviour.


CBC can be used with non-clinical individuals in order to help them in reaching their own solutions using their existing skills and knowledge. It involves exploring the current thoughts, behaviours and emotions around a certain situation and reframing faulty thought patterns in order to create new positive, healthy thought patterns. Through doing this, clients can gain new perspective on how they can handle situations which they have been struggling with. My coaching approach with CBC often supports clients in building self-esteem, self-reliance and overall confidence with managing life’s challenges.


My experience with cognitive behaviour approaches


I have always felt it is important to share my own experiences with my wellbeing journey in order to not only speak from knowledge and experience but also to show that I am a real person with real issues just like you. Since I was a child, I have experienced anxiety. This is something that took me a long time to understand and it was only when I found myself in an extremely low state of mental health in my mid- twenties, that I finally started to explore why this was happening to me and what I could do to help myself. This involved many routes through both the NHS and alternative therapies.


Over the years, I have been offered a couple of therapies through the NHS during challenging times and as much as I appreciate being offered these and having the opportunity to try them to see if they make a difference for me, I do feel that some of these were not right for me for many reasons. I am not telling you this to bash the NHS, I think doctors and nurses in our UK NHS system do an incredible job and work so hard using the resources they have. Unfortunately, with the mental health crisis which has worsened since covid, the NHS is flooded with patients who need help and not enough funding, professionals or time to give patients what they need.


The first time I was introduced to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) was through the NHS. My doctor suggested I start CBT in order to work on anxiety which at this point was effecting my work, relationships and social life. At this point, I did not find the CBT sessions very helpful. The main reason for this I feel, was that it just wasn’t the right time for me. I found sessions very challenging having to rehash situations which had caused me a lot of pain and doing so was actually having more of a negative effect. Now, I don’t know if this was to do with the approach of the therapist or the fact that these sessions took place over the phone or that due to only being prescribed 6 sessions, this was a rushed process. For whatever reason, at this point CBT did not resonate with me and actually it switched me off to these types of therapies…at least for a while.


For a while after that I was much more interested in a holistic approach, I took time to learn a lot about what anxiety is and how it was effecting me personally. I took my own route through research and visiting a spiritual healer in order to overcome the issues I was dealing with. I made huge steps forward during this time. (If you would like to hear more about this journey, leave a comment for a future blog post.)


It was a few years later that I was reintroduced to the cognitive behavioural approach. Actually, it was during my studies for my diploma in holistic life coaching where I learned about the cognitive behavioural approach and I was surprise to come across it again. At first, as you can imagine with my own experience, I was sceptical. However, after studying the module about cognitive behavioural coaching (CBC), I was surprised to learn how useful this can be when approached in the right way for a client. Part of my studies involved carrying out an activity on myself using the CBC approach and I couldn’t believe how helpful this was.


I later experienced CBC during coaching sessions I was receiving and again, I was pleasantly surprised how much of a positive impact this had on my thought patterns and creating new healthy thought patterns for myself. Through my studies and experiences with CBC, I have now learned so much about why it didn’t work for me the first time and how it can be used to make truly positive change. So, you could say I have been converted. I have since learned a lot about how to use CBC in my coaching sessions and it has become one of my core strategies in order to help clients overcome barriers to their life goals. There are different ways I use CBC in my sessions; both verbally and also by completing a more structured activity together. Either way, when using CBC, I will always assess what I feel is best for the client and check-in with them to see if they are happy to go in that direction.


The reason I feel CBC is such an important strategy to teach people through their coaching journey is because is builds self-awareness. Once clients have built the skill of being self-aware and noticing their negative thought patterns, they are already on the journey to reframing them. Once the skill has been learned and clients have learned how to use CBC themselves, this also allows them to become independent in using the cognitive behavioural approach independently. This is something I have learned to do in daily life and it has made the world of difference in how I deal with any challenges in life. I have worked with clients who now say they also use this strategy as a ‘go to’ when a challenge arises and are able to do independently, which is ultimately what I want to empower my clients to do.


If you would like to make lasting, positive changes with your mental wellbeing, book a discovery call today!

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