Why am I so uncomfortable with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

September 2, 2017



                       (CBT)? This is a good question, and one that I’m required to answer,

                       and, therefore, think about, more frequently of late. So, let me first

                       make it very clear that CBT is not a discipline that suits me or a

                       technique that I use.


                       This does not mean that I would, in any way, criticise those counsellors

                       who use it, nor discourage clients who think they can benefit from it.

                       I do not disparage CBT in any way. It is simply not for me – it’s not what I do.


                       The difficulties I have with CBT, in relation to my practice, is that I

                       believe I can be most effective by assisting people to explore their

                       feelings, in addition to their thoughts and ideas.


                       In my professional experience, working only on thought-patterns fails

                       to reach the essential truths and motivations that lead to positive

                       change in any meaningful way. By meaningful, I mean progress to

                       a long-lasting resolution. Helping somebody to examine, consider and

                       change their thought-patterns only, may, I suppose, be helpful in

                       certain cases. But, in my view, such cases, if they exist, are far more

                       limited than current trends suggest.


                       Certainly, I can understand how CBT has become the therapy-of-

                       choice as far as the NHS is concerned; it provides a contained, time-

                       limited and, arguably, measurable service which, the theory goes,

                       makes it a cost-effective one.


                       However, whether its effects are measured in real terms –  how

                       long it takes for the client to need something further, or for a ‘different’

                       presenting problem to materialise - remains unanswered, in my view.


                       By contrast, I firmly believe, and have experienced, both personally

                       and professionally, the long-term benefits of Transactional Analysis 

                       (TA). Which is why I think TA is CBT - with feeling. But that’s another

                       story: another blog, for another day.  

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