CBT Case examples
Basic Principles of CBT
The basic principle of CBT is that the way we think in specific situations affects how we feel emotionally and physically, and alters our behaviour.
Everyone will have their own, individual response to a particular event. The key to CBT is to identify the most important thoughts, feelings and behaviour that make up these reactions and decide whether these responses are rational and helpful.
CBT helps people to understand their problems as well as offering techniques which enable people to learn to make changes in each of these areas, which leads to an improvement in emotional symptoms and empowers people to live fulfilling lives according to their own values and needs.
Differing reactions to the same event:
Imagine that you have cooked dinner for a friend, who is usually very reliable. An hour after she was due to arrive, there is still no sign and you have received no phone call.
How would you react to this?
Look at the following chart, which shows a variety of possible reactions to the same event:
“How dare she do this to me! She is so inconsiderate and rude!”
“She probably didn't want to come because she doesn't really like me. I'm such a loser.”
“What if she's had an accident? She could be seriously hurt.”
“I expect she's stuck in traffic. At least I have extra time to prepare dinner”
Tell her off or act chilly when she arrives
Withdraw from people and stop asking them over
Phone local hospitals
Continue preparing dinner
No individual reaction is right or wrong. However, the way people react to events can often worsen their lives as a vicious cycle . For example, if someone feels depressed, they react by withdrawing from others, which only worsens their mood further. By identifying whether these reactions are helpful or unhelpful in achieving specific life goals, people can make choices about how to respond to different circumstances.