Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is recognised by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as being an effective therapeutic approach for people who are experiencing a range of emotional difficulties, including depression, anxiety, and trauma.
CBT involves looking at your thoughts, feelings, behaviours to help you feel better.
Recently there are also ‘third-wave’ CBT approaches, particularly Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT – pronounced as the word ‘act’ rather than the letters). ACT uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies together with commitment and behaviour strategies to increase psychological flexibility.
In a nutshell, ACT helps you to change your relationship to difficult thoughts and emotions, in the service of constructing a life around what really matters to you. Helping people live in the present moment, in a conscious way, and being able to make choices and decisions in the service of their values. It has a rapidly growing evidence base and is considered highly effective wherever there is emotional distress.
I find this particularly helpful approach with regards to helping people with problems that arise in the perinatal period when people often experience increased anxiety and can easily lose touch with themselves and the things that matter to them.
- Therapy will invite you to look into the main areas of your life such as relationships, parenting, career, leisure, family, spirituality and develop a shared understanding of your values and goals.
- You will develop skills and strategies that help you work towards achieving your goals and living your life in a way that is consistent with your values.
- Your therapist will help you stay focused on developing resilience so that you can live the life that you want rather than be constrained by the impact of negative thoughts and feelings.
- You may be asked to do tasks between sessions to consolidate your progress, and take effective action in order to create a rich and meaningful life.