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  • Doctor Bloomfield

Understanding problems and identifying solutions

One of the many strengths of cogenitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is that it is based on finding solutions to problems and testing out how helpful these particular solutions are for your particular set of circumstances. Another key strength of CBT is that it is based on decades of scientific research into which solutions are helpful.

If you and your doctor decide to use a course of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), one of the first tasks in therapy will be working out which are the “problems” that need solving. This could be low mood or anxiety, for example. If there is more than one problem, then you will need to prioritise with your therapist the order in which the problems can be solved. This process helps keep the therapy focussed on and tailored to what matters most to you.

Once you’ve worked out which are the problems to work with, the next task will involve understanding how those problems have arisen and what is keeping them going now. The technical term for the process of understanding how problems have arisen and what is keeping them going is “formulation”. This understanding is really important because it helps make sure that you and your therapist are in agreement with each other. The process can also can show you the things that need to change to prevent the problem from being maintained. Most of these strategies are in the “here and now” which means that whilst it’s important to understand the past, we need to change things in the present - because we can’t change the past. The only exceptions to this are when working with traumatic memories. It is in this way that the shared understanding that you and your therapist develop together can guide decision-making on which solutions to your problems to try out.

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