cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)

Counselling Services for Waterloo Region

You may have heard about Cognitive Behavior Therapy before, especially since doctors will often recommend it as a form of treatment. It is also one of the most evidence-based practices available in therapy, meaning that many studies have shown this to be an effective approach. 

The idea behind CBT is that our responses, whether that be anxiety or depression, is more related to our perception of a situation rather than the situation itself. For example, a first date is just a first date and nothing is inherently fearful about that. But while one person may view it as exciting, another person might view it as scary. Usually we have a thought that goes along with our perception, perhaps a core belief, such as "this person won't like me." In the moment, we might truly believe this thought and therefore it might guide our emotions and actions. Perhaps I feel anxious and cancel the date; perhaps I never accept the date in the first place.  

CBT challenges the truth of these thoughts, helps individuals problem-solve, and teaches skills to regulate emotions. It also addresses coping strategies in order to develop healthier ones that aren't based on avoiding unpleasant thoughts and emotions. 

While some therapists will use CBT as their only approach, it can also be used in the first stage of Safety and Stabilization.  It is effective at bringing individuals to a place where they can finally address some of the root causes of their issues and engage in deeper processing.