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2017 goal settingWhat does 2017 have in store for you? New Year is a common time to be looking at our lives, taking stock, and considering making change. We set intentions, make resolutions and plan goals. When I get client enquries in January I notice that this is the time when people seem most resolute about what they want - a fresh year, a fresh start. Or perhaps its more true to say that people are resolute about what they don't want, and they come to therapy to explore change and what can be done.

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dont believe everything you thinkIn my last blog post, I talked about some of the theory that underpin CBT, Gestalt, and Buddhist ideas in relation to therapeutic work. As a practitioner who works mainly in relational psychotherapy (under which we would include Gestalt and Buddhist ideas), I have been intrigued by the ascendence of CBT in our national health system in the UK. I believe it wise to become familiar with a practice before making a sound judgement on its use: and indeed, this is how I feel with CBT. Whether relational psychotherapists like it or not, CBT remains the "treatment of choice", and many clients (new ones, old ones) will have dealings with it, and will form judgements on our work with them based upon those experiences. We also need to know CBT well enough to understand what makes it different to our own approach so we can then explain this to our clients*. Completing some training in CBT was therefore important to me, allowing me to use some of the ideas in my work, and to help me appreciate truly how it resonates (or not) with my own practice.

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"If only I had a pound for every time a propspective new client asks me if I could 'do CBT on them'..." said one of my therapist friends recently. I didn't ask what they could do with the money they would amount, but from my own experiences, it is a question posed enough (in one shape or form) to make many humanistically trained therapists sigh and then ponder just what our modality is doing wrong in terms of marketing.

CBT

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy "is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave", so say the NHS help pages. According to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) - an independent body set up by the government in 1999 - the evidence-base for the effectiveness of CBT makes it the treatment of choice for depression and anxiety: and indeed, the research does look convincing especially in the context of its cost-effectiveness (it can be delivered in few sessions and in a manualised way, minimalising staff input). However, CBT is not without its critics: its philosophy and its research supramacy is being called in to question.

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