Comparisons between CBT and Solution Focused Therapy

Hello wonderful people,

I recently attended a training course about Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – which is one of the more common types of therapy given by the NHS, e.g. of anxiety and depression, and we use some of its methods within how we work, although I hadn’t realised it before. (For example, my Workshops on Overcoming Compulsive Shopping are essentially CBT sessions squashed into miniaturised form.)

This may be very familiar to some of you, but for the rest of you, here is a brief summary:

  • What we think affects how we act and feel…
  • …what we (emotionally) feel affects what we think and do…
  • …what we do affects how we think and feel.

And all three can show up in our body, as physical feelings, which we can start to pay attention to, to learn what is going on in our subconscious.

  1. The therapist will then explain how CBT works, and explain unhelpful thinking patterns (psychoeducation),
  2. agree clear goals with the client (so that progress can be noticed- this is very important),
  3. explain that there will be “homework”,
  4. and explain that it is collaborative. As with all psychotherapy, it requires participation by the client. (Like showing someone how to use gym equipment to get fitter, it has to be the client doing the exercises in order for anything to happen.)

With practice, it is possible to train our minds to first notice unhelpful thoughts, and then learn to capture them, and question them.

But also, it is possible to choose to actively do things, and these things can affect our thoughts and feelings, towards the desired goal.

A significant difference with Solution Focused HypnoTherapy is that we don’t set any “homework” – which can be a massive relief for some clients.

But we also agree clear goals with our clients, and work towards them, and we also train our clients for helpful and positive thinking patterns – although we avoid dwelling on the unhelpful patterns a client might currently have.

Our use of trance work also allows the client to practice new behaviours in a safe place, because the limbic system – the part of the mind that generates emotional reactions to things – it can’t tell the difference between imagination and reality. As far as it’s concerned, gradual “exposure therapy” within trance is real – and the same goes for practicing actively helpful ways of thinking & responding.

So if any of you have tried CBT, I now have an understanding of what that is all about, and I’d love to find out how I can help you now!