Ready to be a detective?
This is a great question to ask yourself before starting Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). There are two reasons for this. Firstly, counselling isn’t going to be like what you see on TV – you won’t be lying down on a couch in session talking to a passive therapist. Secondly, there won’t be any bad guys to catch – only yourself.
So what will counselling look like? And what will you catch yourself doing? Counselling will involve some detective work, like tracking your activities or the thoughts, emotions and body sensations you experience outside of session. This will provide the evidence we need to understand the patterns of behavior that are leading you to feel trapped, stuck in depression or reliving trauma.
For example, consider when you might feel anxiety while attending a party. Your friend has gone to talk with someone and left you on your own. You look around and immediately think, “I can’t talk to them, they won’t think I’m interesting.” So your heart starts beating faster and your mouth gets dry. So you avoid the feeling by sitting in the corner by yourself.
Following the evidence leads us to maybe the most exciting part of counselling – testing our theories in real life in a series of small steps. So going back to the party, this could look like talking to one person, then two people and so on at a pace that won’t overwhelm you.
To improve the chances of success, you will go into these situations with backup. Because by then, we would have learned your strengths and helped you develop skills so you can arrest thoughts like “I can’t do this” or “people will judge me”.
I’ve been saying “we” this whole time because there will be no sidekicks in this team – we will be equal partners. You are the expert on you, and I will help you manage your challenges. So what do you say? Are you ready to be a detective? Partner.