Therapeutic Models

This section contains a brief summary of the different therapy models used by Dr Cahalane.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a widely-used, short-term psychological treatment. It is a way of helping people solve problems and improve the way they think and feel. CBT is based on 2 principles:

  1. Our thoughts and beliefs are connected to our behaviours, moods and physical experiences and to the events in our lives.
  2. Our perception or interpretation of an event affects our emotional, behavioural and physiological responses to that event. In some cases our interpretations are distorted by our prior experiences or expectations, and our beliefs about ourselves and other people.

CBT concentrates on identifying these distorted/negative thought patterns as these often underlie low mood, anxiety, low self-esteem and many other psychological problems. CBT looks at how problems are maintained in the “here and now”. It helps people to learn new ways of coping and problem solving which can be used for the rest of their lives.

CBT is an evidence-based treatment which means it has been proven to work. It has been shown to be effective in treating a range of psychological problems, including depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychosis. It is recommended as the treatment of choice for many psychological difficulties by the UK government in their NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) guidelines.

Schema Therapy is a longer term therapy originally developed for people with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, although it has since been extended to use with other personality disorders, as well as other complex, long-term problems. It combines some of the main ideas of CBT but has been developed for more complex or entrenched difficulties and for treating people with ideas from other models such as psychodynamic theory, Gestalt and attachment theory. It is based on the principle that entrenched difficulties are usually a result of core needs (e.g. the need for security, safety, love) going unmet in childhood, and the person’s subsequent attempts to cope with those unmet needs. It focuses on identifying and correcting problematic interpersonal patterns, as well as changing unhelpful coping patterns.

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) is a therapy designed to help people with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder or who experience problems with unstable relationships and who find it hard to cope with overwhelming negative emotions. It is a practical, skills-based therapy.