I was browsing Facebook and I've come across an ad, which promoted a "CBT diploma" course for £25.
I clicked on the comments section, not the ad itself, and it seemed like there are lots of people who are interested in taking this course. I wasn't surprised, as I knew this type of thing exists, but nevertheless, it worried me.
As the title suggests, this conversation of "CBT" vs cognitive behavioural psychotherapy does come up quite often in therapist circles I am involved in, and clearly, a lot of people are trying to capitalise on the popularity of CBT. We do live in capitalism, so, again, why am I surprised.
I do also come across clients who say they have had CBT before, but when I talk about what 'my version of CBT' looks like they are surprised... again, I shouldn't be surprised.
I believe there is some serious confusion about what CBT is nowadays. I am afraid for the future of CBT as a practicing therapist, as those who experience therapy not in it's full and supportive form, they might form the opinion that "it doesn't work".
I firmly believe that CBT does work, IF it's applied well and the therapy is guided by someone who knows what they are doing.
I mean no offense to those colleagues or individuals who decide to complete a 2 day course on CBT and then offer their services as "CBT therapy", unfortunately the title is not fully protected and the industry needs further regulation, so they actually can say that .
However, I want to protect prospective clients and the general public, from gathering bad experiences when it comes to CBT and potentially paying out a lot of money on therapy that is not as effective as it can be.
Let me give you an example. I've spent 5 years in University, completing my bachelors and masters, in full time education, 100% focusing on the different aspects of psychology and therapy.
On top of this I've spent a year in postgraduate studies fully focusing on CBT (learning it and practicing it, under a lot of supervision). (and not to mention the tons of courses and trainings I've completed during and after these years).
Since graduation, I've spent many years working as a CBT therapist in the NHS full time - this means high caseload, lots of interesting and challenging cases and yes, a lot of supervision from professionals who have a lot more experience than me.
I have been fully accredited for over 2 years now and this comes with following professional guidelines, regular group, individual and peer supervision, and regular workshops and continued learning (CPD).
I call myself a CBT therapist because this is actually what I do. My work is influenced by my life experience, other trainings such as mindfulness, yoga and ACT, and I do my best to tailor each treatment to my client's needs. And I firmly believe that because of all this, I provide a version of CBT that does actually work.
And you can't learn all this in a week or in a month. It might be cheaper to talk to a professional who doesn't have that much experience, but you get what you pay for.
CBT is not a quick fix. It's not about challenging negative thoughts and that's about it. It's not just about the present. It's not just 'learning some skills and techniques'.
These are all stereotypes.
It's full on psychotherapy. It's hard work.
It's a chance for people to go closer to or face their deepest, darkest fears. It's an opportunity to understand where those fears come from and what contributed to the maintenance of them in the long term.
CBT does offer tools and techniques, but that's not where the emphasis is.
It's about working with emotions and moving towards goals that are realistic and based on how the problem works.
It can be an intense form of therapy but it does pay off. And if it's done well, the benefits last a lifetime.