Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. It is a therapy based on evidence and research that gives you the tools and techniques to continue to cope and thrive long after your sessions have ended.
The theory of CBT is that the way we think about situations can affect the way we feel and behave. When people feel worried or distressed we often fall into patterns of thinking and responding which can worsen how we feel. For example, if you interpret a situation negatively then you might experience negative emotions as a result, and those bad feelings might then lead you to behave in a certain way. CBT works to help us notice and change problematic thinking styles or behaviour patterns so we can feel better. CBT has lots of strategies that can help you in the here and now.
CBT can help with many different types of problems that affect your mental health. These include: anxiety, depression, panic, phobias (including agoraphobia and social phobia), eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder amongst other things.
I work with people with are struggling with complex mental health issues, who maybe don’t fit neatly into a box and who might be a bit ‘complicated’.
Does this sound like you?
Some of the issues I work with include -
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (often referred to as OCD) is a serious anxiety-related condition where a person experiences frequent intrusive and unwelcome obsessional thoughts, commonly referred to as obsessions.
Obsessions are very distressing and result in a person carrying out repetitive behaviours or rituals in order to prevent a perceived harm and/or worry that preceding obsessions have focused their attention on. Such behaviours include avoidance of people, places or objects and constant reassurance seeking, sometimes the rituals will be internal mental counting, checking of body parts, or blinking, all of these are compulsions.
Research has shown that 75% of people with OCD are significantly helped by CBT and it is the treatment of choice in the UK.
Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life. But some people find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and can often affect their daily lives. Some commonly diagnosed anxiety disorders are -
Many individuals can experience symptoms associated with painful and traumatic circumstances. Anxiety, fear, and hopelessness are a few emotions that can linger post traumatic events. We can help you overcome these symptoms and guide you through the process of grief and healing.
This means when you have more than one problem or diagnosis that you are trying to deal with.
Megan is a mental health professional with over ten years experience working in mental health and addiction, she is a registered member of BABCP and continues to work in mainstream mental health services alongside her private practice. She has gained her previous CBT qualifications from the University of Oxford where she is currently doing further studies in ‘Complex Presentations’. This means working with people who don’t have straight forward mental health issues such as anxiety or depression, which can be treated by going to your GP and getting effective short term CBT through the NHS. Some people are deemed to be too ‘complex’ to fit into simple treatment models as they may have been suffering for such a long time, perhaps have not been successful with therapy in the past or have multiple mental health issues affecting them at the same time, maybe there is a history of trauma or difficult life circumstances that make it hard to know where to start and how to separate things out. These are the areas that Megan is specialising in.
Sessions last 50 minutes and would typically take place on a weekly or fortnightly basis.
The first couple of sessions will be spent making sure CBT is the right therapy for you and that you're comfortable with the process. I will ask questions about why you have come to CBT and about your current situation as well as your background. Although CBT concentrates on the here and now, at times you may need to talk about the past to understand how your problems are affecting your life at the moment, helping us to work together to agree what you would like to work on in treatment and what your goals are. You decide what you want to deal with in the short, medium and long term.
If we are both happy that CBT is the right treatment for you, we will start to break down the problems into steps which we will focus on each week. You will be asked to work on certain tasks in between sessions, such as keeping a diary or trying out one of the coping techniques that we will have discussed in session.
We will work at your pace, this doesn’t mean that there won’t be times that you feel anxious or negative about treatment as this is a really normal part of therapy and helpful for us to talk about when it comes up, but it means that we are only going to work towards goals that you’re comfortable with at a speed that suits you.
The number of sessions you need depends on the difficulty you need help with.
The Park Counselling Centre, 31 Park Road, Coventry, CV1 2LE
Is CBT right for me?
Although CBT is effective for many people, it is not right for everyone and it is helpful to do some research. A therapist will be able to advise you whether your expectations are likely to be met through CBT, it depends what you are looking to gain. CBT focuses on helping you to achieve specific goals that are led by you and is structured each session to keep us focused on these.
Before deciding to have CBT, it might be helpful to think about the following:
How much is it?
As Megan is currently undergoing further training, she is currently offering discounted sessions at £40. This is payable prior to each session via cash, cheque or direct debit.
Referrals from companies will be charged at a higher rate due to administrative costs.
What is the difference in getting therapy from someone who currently training?
Very little difference. Megan is experienced in CBT so you will be in safe hands and like any other therapist she has regular supervision but has the additional benefit of regular supervision from experts in the field at the University of Oxford. As part of qualifying, she is required to write several anonymous case studies about clients who have come to therapy. You will be asked if you would be comfortable for anonymised audio recordings to be made which will be kept entirely confidential and destroyed once she has fully qualified in 2020. This is something that we can discuss during our first appointment and any concerns you may have and we will go through a therapy agreement.
What is a therapy agreement?
This is a contract we use which includes details of how we work, confidentiality, fees, what you can expect from me and what I expect from you as a client. Click here to see more.
I work full time. Do you have evening or weekend appointments available?
Yes absolutely, I work some evenings and on Saturdays so we can work it into your schedule.
How long will I have to wait to start therapy?
From first contact we should be able to arrange your initial appointment within two weeks and if we are both happy to continue then therapy will be able to commence without delay.
Do you do home visits or telephone appointments?
Not usually, this can be discussed.
Where do I go and what happens when I arrive?
I work out of Park Counselling Centre which is located very close to Coventry train station. Please see the ‘’’Finding us’’ section for specific details. There are a few parking spaces in front of the building, otherwise there is street parking.
There is usually a receptionist on the desk, who will buzz you in and you can wait in reception until you are called in. On weekends, there is not a receptionist on the desk. At these times the therapist will need to let you into the building which they may not be able to do early if they are already with a client.
What if I need to cancel a session?
This is fine with 48 hours notice as we all know life can get in the way sometimes! Unfortunately if you cancel within the 48 hours prior to the appointment I will still have to charge you 50% of the rate (£20) to meet my own costs.
Can I bring someone with me?
If you would like to bring someone along for support the first time this is fine, lots of people need a bit of support when they are taking a big step like this. We can talk about what we will do in later sessions and how this will work. Sometimes, further into therapy, it can be helpful to bring a family member or friend along to a session if you feel they will be helpful to support you too if they understand what you are trying to achieve in therapy. This would only happen if it is something you felt would be useful.
How long should I expect CBT to go on for?
This is hard to say as it differs from person to person but as a guideline I would say 12-15 sessions for the clients I usually work with. This can be less for some people and somewhat longer for others. CBT is not a forever therapy and there are guidelines around how long it takes to treat different mental health issues based on evidence and research on the effectiveness of treatment, however these are guidelines rather than rules and everybody is individual and works at a different pace. We will regularly review your progress during therapy and both of us will plan for when we think the sessions will come to an end so that you feel prepared for that.