The essence of CBP is the premise that a relationship exists between our thoughts, feelings, behaviours and physical sensations. This relationship can help or hinder our emotional well-being. CBP encompasses a broad range of approaches and techniques to help us achieve a healthy relationship between these aspects of ourselves. Most notably this includes learning to identify and challenge unhelpful patterns that contribute to maintaining our problems. Every member of the Opus team is qualified and very experienced in CBP. We have assisted many clients to overcome a range of common mental health problems who then go on to enjoy a significant improvement in the quality of their life.
CBP is a proactive approach that your therapist will support you through in a step by step way – never by throwing you in at the deep end! Although we may discuss your past to help gain an understanding of the problems you face, the approach is based in the here and now, looking to help you make sense of current problems, and think about what you can do to manage them differently.
This therapeutic approach was developed more recently in comparison to CBP, however, is based on ideas spanning centuries. CFT tackles the problem of shame and self-criticism (beating ourselves up), which can hold people back from living a full life. The process involves some exploration of the past to help understand where such high levels of shame and self-criticism come from, and learning and understanding that as human beings, we simply find ourselves trying to make the best of life, and that it is not our fault when things are beyond our control. To help do this, CFT actively teaches strategies to help us learn to be kinder to ourselves – to get in touch with our Soothing Systems.
Though more recently developed for clinical use as compared with some other therapies, MBCT is based on ideas about living in the present moment that are centuries old. Research has shown MBCT to be an effective approach for managing problems associated with depression, anxiety, and pain.
When we negatively dwell on the past or worry excessively about our present or future, the result is often significant distress and low mood. By teaching how to pay attention to the present moment in a non- judgemental compassionate way, MBCT can help to reform the way we relate with our experiences, helping us to respond in a way that reduces our suffering.
MBCT has been shown to be particularly effective for people who suffer from recurrent depression to help prevent future episodes.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, who developed a mindfulness based stress reduction programme put it like this: ‘You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.’
Trauma therapy is a specialist area of training.
Traumatic experiences can lead to the development of PTSD when our brain struggles to make sense of what has happened, most probably because it is so overwhelmed with fear and the desire to survive what is happening at the time. So our memories of traumatic events can get ‘stuck’ in the brain resulting in a range of distressing symptoms for the sufferer, such as nightmares and flashbacks, and feeling like the trauma is being relived over and over again even when it is in the past. The severity and complexity of PTSD varies from person to person depending on the individual’s experience. However, in all cases, symptoms are distressing for the sufferer and can have a negative impact on how we feel about the world and how we relate to others.
Trauma therapy starts by helping those with PTSD to make sense of why they feel the way they do by providing important information about trauma and PTSD. The next stage involves learning a range of techniques to help reduce and manage symptoms to increase a sense of safety. Aspects from all the therapies previously mentioned on our website can be helpful here.
If appropriate, therapy then progresses to processing traumatic experiences that have become stuck. The main goal here is to help traumatic memories become unstuck the brain, thus helping individuals to be able to move forward in life. There are a number of processes that can help achieve this which the Opus team are trained to facilitate, including Imagery Rescripting and Reprocessing Therapy (IRRT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), to name a few. Your therapist will be able to explain more about these options and discuss which may be the most appropriate for you. After processing, there may be some further work to help you rebuild aspects of your life and once again, we may draw from all the therapies previously mentioned to help you achieve this.
Whilst all of the above therapies have been developed to tackle an individual’s different needs, there are some fundamental aspects that hold true for each.
Structure – Each session will have some form of structure to work within. This allows important aspects of the treatment to be considered and addressed so that they do not get lost or forgotten. Structure also helps to keep the therapy on-track and not ‘drift off,’ so that you are getting the most from your therapy.
Time-limited – Research has shown that these therapies we offer work most effectively within a time-frame. This will be different for each individual depending on their needs – some may require more sessions, whilst others not as many. But as an example, government guidelines from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) indicate that those having CBP for depression may typically receive 16-20 sessions of individual treatment.
Goal-oriented – Setting goals or targets for what you hope to achieve in treatment also helps to keep the therapy ‘on-track’ as well as giving you a sense of the progress you have made. Goals are reviewed from time to time during the therapeutic process to help with this.
Proactive – The proactive nature of these therapies means that both yourself, the Client, and ourselves, the Therapists, are fully involved in taking the therapy forward. An important aspect of this is clients completing between-session tasks (or ‘homework’), for instance, putting into practice strategies you may have learnt in session.
Step by step approach – As therapy can be an intense undertaking, we are not here to throw you in the deep end! We are committed to supporting you through this journey at a pace you can manage, in order to achieve your goals.
Therapeutic Relationship – When all else is said and done, research suggests that the most important part of the therapeutic process is the relationship you have with your therapist. We endeavour to offer you a warm and safe environment to talk about your issues as openly as you can manage, without any fear of judgement.