Why am I so uncomfortable with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

(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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