Following from an initial assessment, we will formulate a hypothesis regarding the onset and maintenance factors driving the particular problem. This will inform us of the factors to target in therapy, which are then incorporated into a therapy plan, which is agreed with you.
Therapy lasts for between 50 and 60 minutes and this time is carefully structured. To maximise the benefits of therapy, you will be asked to carry out between sessions’ tasks, such as keeping various records. These tasks are not time consuming or complex. Once therapy has concluded you will be given a relapse prevention strategy, effectively becoming your own therapist.
During therapy we will examine your automatic thoughts in response to various situations, mental images, memories or when contemplating the future. This will lead to an understanding of the assumptions that you hold about yourself, other people and your world. Supporting these will be fundamental or core beliefs about yourself, other people and your world. For example, someone may hold the core belief that “I am stupid and boring” and assume that “if people get to know me they will find out how stupid and boring I am”. So, at work or socially, if someone does not talk to them, their automatic thought is; “they think I’m stupid and boring”. However, the core belief “I am stupid and boring” will not stand up to scrutiny, although sometimes a person “feels” stupid, boring or bad. Following identification of these factors we will undertake cognitive restructuring, which basically means looking for alternative, more helpful and accurate appraisals of the above.
Similarly, someone who holds the (irrational) belief that “the world should be the way that I want it to be” and “people must not treat me badly” and “if they do, they are disrespecting me”, may wish consider that this is illogical as the world, other people and circumstances will never be the way that they want them to be. This can lead to rigid thinking and anger directed at other people and the world for not being the way that they want it to be. Therapy will address such self defeating behaviours and beliefs.
For young people aged 12 years and above, therapy is adapted to their particular age and stage of development. Their parent’s or carer’s will be involved in the assessment process and will be asked to support their child during therapy.