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Understanding Counselling: What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Understanding Counselling:  What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Every therapist works from a different theoretical approach, and though this is probably one of the more boring things to read about, it can be important when you’re choosing a psychologist who fits you. Contrary to what might be portrayed in the movies, your psychologist does more than listen, and even when it feels like we’re holding a normal conversation, we’re actually asking questions and making comments with a purpose — the support we offer is different from a friend’s so it needs to be more purposeful than a conversation between friends. You don’t need to worry about this, this is part of our role and we’re happy to point out when and how we’re doing this if you’re curious.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a popular therapeutic technique and my favourite. You may have heard about it from your GP, and the reason they recommend it so often is because of the research supporting its effectiveness. It’s not the best approach for everyone, so if it doesn’t fit you, that’s okay.

CBT — when we break it down, it means we’re looking at how you’re thinking about something and what you’re doing in connection with how you’re feeling. Let’s look at a low day for example. Picture it with me, I suspect we’ve all had a day like this before — We mope around the house, we don’t have any energy and we’re stuck in a thought pattern feeling around being incredibly alone and maybe a bit sorry for ourselves. We feel down and lonely. When we’re feeling down, it’s pretty normal to isolate, spend time alone and get lost in our thoughts. The feelings are down, the behaviour is isolated, and the cognition is focused on feeling lonely.

To help you move past these low feelings, my first few courses of action would have you leaving the house (as simple as a walk), and focusing on something you can be thankful for. There is probably something, no matter how small, that you do enjoy or is going well in your life at the moment. Taking action, as well as changing how you’re thinking is what will make the big difference in having you feeling more connected and less down.

As you share your story with me, and you fill me in on what you’re looking for help with, these are things I’m paying attention to. Offering empathy and support as well as helping you decide if the current patterns are realistic and good for you, or if there are changes we can make to help you live your best life. If you have more questions about CBT, book in for a meet and greet, I or one of my colleagues would be happy to answer these for you, to help determine if CBT is a good fit for you.


I am so glad you are dedicated to getting the most out of your sessions. Your active participation and dedication is crucial to your success. After all, we only see each other for a session a week. It’s the work you do outside of our sessions that will really help you see your personal growth and development.

This is one of the most common counselling questions we get asked and certainly makes sense because the nature of therapy is so dynamic.  Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. we tailor our therapeutic approach to your specific needs.

Not at all. Everyone needs help sometimes. You may have had some skills or strengths that you’ve used to deal with challenges before, but for whatever reason, those aren’t working right now. Perhaps what you are dealing with right now feels overwhelming and you are unable to access your past strengths. Through your relationship with your counsellor and the process of therapy, you can explore the challenges you are facing and find your inner strength or develop new skills and strategies to find healing.


Your Partner In Wellness

Your Partner In Wellness

Refresh Counselling is committed to providing the most elevated mental health services to our patients in at either of our locations in Calgary and across Alberta. We promise to meet you where you are, provide insight and a safe space, and help you get to where you want to be. Take advantage of our complimentary consultation to connect with a psychologist who can be your expert guide as you journey towards mental health and well-being. Book now in Jane, our virtual system.

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