At the Bell Yard Psychology Clinic, I am fully qualified to use
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- Compassion-focused Therapy
- Humanistic-experiential therapy
An advantage of choosing a therapist trained more than one approach is that the clinician will
- Be competent to use a wide range of techniques
- Can fit the treatment to your needs
- Are not restricted to one set of ‘tools’ when practicing therapy.
COMPASSION – FOCUSED PSYCHOLOGICAL THERAPY
“Compassion is the courage to descend into the reality of human experience”
P. Gilbert, 2012
Compassion-focused therapy is a form of therapy that has proven to be especially useful for individuals who suffer from self-criticism, shame and anxiety. Its roots lay in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and it is seen as a ‘third-wave‘ therapy by practitioners in the CBT field, together with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
As an approach to alleviate suffering it focuses on developing self-compassion as well as compassion for others through a range of experiential methods highly influenced by evolutionary and social psychology, neuroscience as well as Buddhist philosophy.
Very effective for individuals who suffer from self-criticism, shame and anxiety.
The approach itself has shown highly effective on individuals who are shame prone and suffer from intense self-critical thoughts. There are also a growing evidence-base for its effectiveness on complex PTSD.
COGNITIVE – BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY
“[Hu]Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them”
Cognitive – Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
What is CBT?
- An evidence-based psychotherapy specifically developed to alleviate psychological suffering
- Highly effective with mood and anxiety disorders
- Often time-limited and shorter than many other therapies
- Often focused on how your issue affects you today, rather than how it affected you in the past
- Focuses on practical ways to improve in every-day life
Typical CBT session format
Almost all CBT sessions are highly structured and follow a specific format. This has been developed so that the therapy treatment is focused on the issue that you find most problematic. The session often starts out with a small check in where you are asked about how your mood has been since the last session. Some CBT therapists use psychological questionnaires that they ask their patents to fill in before each session as a means to measure progress within therapy. It also helps the CBT therapist to adapt treatment as necessary.
Review of homework
Within CBT homework, or work in-between sessions, are seen as paramount to your progress. Homework means exercises that are specifically designed to move you forward. They are set by you together with your therapist in order for the therapy to move forward at a faster pace than if you were to attend therapy just one day a week. They are designed in relation to your needs and wants in the here and now. It can be something as simple as checking in on how you are feeling twice a day. Or monitoring your thoughts. For some, it may be breathing exercises and for others, it may be an exercise in looking others in the eye. For a few, it can be practising self-compassion. You get the gist – it is individualised and based on needs. Together with your CBT therapist, you go over whether the exercise has helped and troubleshoot if it hasn’t.
It may sound clinical, dull and office like but bare with me. It is a highly effective way of keeping the therapy structured around what you find most important. It is a way for the CBT therapist to avoid guesswork and leading you down paths which you may not feel are as pertinent to your well-being and mental health. This is the time when you pick a focus of the session – it can be very specific or more general.
- Talking about spiders
- Imagining a spider
- Seeing a video of a spider
- Looking at a live spider in a cage
For others, the in-session experiment may involve treatment for a fear of rejection, or public speaking, or an exercise in mindfulness. For some, it could simply be sitting in silence and learning to just be. It’s totally individual and tailored to your needs which is key.
Out-of-session experiment / homework setting
The next phase of the therapy hour involves homework setting. This is when you together with your CBT therapist can start looking at things you can take from the therapy and put into practice in every-day life. How can what you learned in the therapy session be applied outside of it? What could you take forward? What would have been helpful to focus on at home? Collaboratively with your CBT therapist, you plan and devise an appropriate exercise using your knowledge and understanding of your problems and the CBT therapist’s expertise in psychology and effective treatment methods.
The last part of the therapy is the ending. You will be asked what you found useful in the session as well as what you found less useful. If there is anything you like to spend more time on in the next session or if there is anything you wish the CBT therapist to prepare. This is also the time when you look over practicalities such as booking next session etc
HUMANISTIC – EXPERIENTIAL PSYCHOTHERAPY
What is it?
- This type of therapy is sometimes called Emotion-focused Therapy (EFT).
- Its roots are in humanistic psychotherapy and is influenced by existential, Gestalt, and person-centred approaches.
- EFT is practical and and uses specific emotional processing methods towards change such as close emotional tracking and ‘chair work’.
- EFT lead therapists believe in the humans capacity for reflective consciousness and hold the view that humans operate with a tendency towards growth.
- As an approach EFT has proven effective with a range of different problems such as chronic depression, relationship issues, unresolved conflicts, anger management problems and many other issues.
- The humanistic-experiential psychotherapy or the EFT approach works on the foundation that the therapeutic relationship is built upon authenticity, unconditional positive regard and empathy which when applied right can lead to self-reorganisation and ultimately alleviation of suffering.