How Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Counselling Can Help In The Workplace

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a psychotherapeutic technique for overcoming depression and anxiety and this is how it can benefit the workplace.

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Health Assured team

07 November 2018

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a tried and tested technique for overcoming anxiety and even severe depression.

Bringing CBT into the workplace can have a range of positive effects on employees, offering them an outlet for any negative thoughts and improving and maintaining their mental health and wellbeing.

What is cognitive behavioural therapy?

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a tried and tested type of psychotherapy in which negative patterns of thought about the self and the world are identified and challenged with the aim of altering unwanted behavioural patterns or treat mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Sessions can also range to more targeted problems such as CBT for menopause.

What does CBT involve?

Cognitive behavioural therapy techniques help you outthink negative thought patterns. Negative thought patterns may involve the prevalence of thoughts that suppress positive emotions, such as ‘this good feeling won’t last’ or ‘I don’t deserve to be this happy’, leaving the individual in a tense, anxious, panicking, or low mood.

CBT involves looking inwards to achieve this, but this tends be very difficult for someone with depression or anxiety to do it on their own.

A CBT session will generally be with a psychiatrist, psychologist, mental health professional, or GP, and will involve analysing thought patterns, questioning negative thoughts, and learning how to recognise how you can help yourself.

At each session, you’ll discuss how the changes to your thinking have been affecting your happiness, and your therapist might give you ‘homework’ in-between sessions such as keeping a diary or log of your feelings.

CBT for anxiety and depression

A CBT based approach to anxiety counselling or depression involves breaking problems down into five main areas; situations, thoughts, emotions, physical feelings and actions. In CBT these areas are all interconnected and changing one area will affect the others.

By keeping a diary or feelings log, the employee will be able to isolate negative thought patterns and locate the thoughts and behaviours that can be changed. After recognising these negative thoughts, it’s much easier to begin trying to replace them with more helpful ones.

After each session, the employee will be in a slightly stronger place when they are about to do something that will make them feel worse, and can implement their new techniques to prevent negative thought spirals. 

CBT for the workplace

CBT counselling is where a patient and therapist work together to agree on the patterns of negative behaviour that need to be changed. Most employers introducing CBT to the workplace choose to seek external support for this service.

An Employee Assistance Programme includes an employee counselling service that draws on elements of CBT, helping employees identify and change negative thought patterns, amongst other things.

Benefits of CBT in the workplace

The benefits of CBT in the workplace can include:

  • Better understanding of self, leads to increased confidence
  • Reduced anxiety means a more relaxed and productive workplace
  • Can lead to stronger workplace relationships between employees
  • Fewer mental health-based absences

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