Cognitive Therapy and Counseling
Cognitive Therapy and Counseling are different appoaches that help the person to explore dysfunctional thinking, emotions and behavior, and to recognize the maladaptive nature of the behavior, leading to a change towards better adjusted behavior.
There are many reasons people seek the help from simply wanting someone to talk with and use as a sounding board to serious mental disorders. Psychotherapy might be considered needed if the patient’s thoughts, behaviors, or emotions are causing significant problems in life or have the immediate potential to cause significant problems.However, psychotherapy may not always be considered the first option. If a diagnosis of a mental disorder requiring medication is made, and the symptoms of the disorder are preventing the person from being amenable to psychotherapy, medication may first be prescribed. Sometimes medicines alone are enough to control the symptoms and bring about a change in thinking. Sometimes psychotherapy may be undertaken while medication is being given. Psychotherapy may not be done in isolation and in the same session brief psychotherapy may be given while talking to the patient and medication may be prescribed.
The next question is ‘who could benefit from therapy?’ Simple, pretty much anyone. Therapy isn’t just for people with a serious mental illness, it’s also very helpful for people with mild to moderate depression, anxiety, relationship difficulties, sexual concerns, etc., etc., etc.
The focus is on on the client’s:
- perception of reality
- understandind about what and how they are thinking, feeling, and doing as they interact with the therapist and the other people in the world
- responsibility for their destiny and identity
- awareness of what he or she is doing and experiencing
The objective is to enable the patient to identify distorted thinking relating to self and others, to become free from the blocks and unfinished business that may diminish satisfaction, fulfillment, and growth, and to develop skills for modifying beliefs, attitudes and to experiment with new behaviors for a better adjusted life and relationships.
The outcome is the ability to become fully aware of what is happening within oneself and outside of oneself, in interaction with others, and to deal with the problems.
Treatment is based on collaboration between patient and therapist and on testing beliefs. Therapy may consist of testing the assumptions which one makes and identifying how certain of one’s usually unquestioned thoughts are distorted, unrealistic and unhelpful. Once those thoughts have been challenged, one’s feelings about the subject matter of those thoughts are more easily subject to change
The procedure of therapy is simple. A detailed history is taken first. Medication may be prescribed to relieve anxiety and tension that interferes with the Therapy. The person is encouraged to express the distressing thoughts, feelings, and behavior. The procedure of the session conveys the therapists understanding of the emotions and attitudes expressed and they are accepted without approval nor disapproval, but they are challenged by the therapist whenever appropriate.
The patient is encouraged to explore attitudes and reactions to the challenges posed by the therapist till he / she arrives at a clear conscious realization of the reasons behind the attitudes.
Simple limits are set on behavior, but not on attitudes e.g. the person may feel that he / she wants to break something or leave the room, and this this feeling is fully accepted, they are not allowed to carry out the behaviour.
The person is set a fixed time for each session at the end of which the session is terminated, but there is full acceptance of the desire to claim more time.
Therapy operates on the principles that the individual is basically responsible for self, and is willing to keep that responsibility and that the person has a strong drive to become mature, socially adjusted. independent, productive, and relies on this force, and not the therapist, for the therapeutic change.
As the person begins to have “realization” about the disruptive behavior and becomes calmer with therapy the mind is challenged more intensely.
As an issue is addressed the person may experience restlessness, anger and sadness which he / she is taught to analyze and understand the reason for.
As treatment proceeds the person begins to understand that the feelings and attitudes being challenged are “irrelevant” and begins to learn “lessons” from the experiences that were previously distressing.
The person is also helped to develop skills for modifying beliefs, identifying distorted thinking, relating to others in different ways, and changing behaviors.
The person chooses a new goal which is more satisfying than the previous maladjusted goals. This will result in changed behaviour in order to reach the new goals, with the person becoming more spontaneous and less tense, more in harmony with social needs of others, and adopting a more realistic and more comfortable adjustment to life.