Dr. Nili Benazon
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is an empirically-validated and widely used form of talk therapy developed to treat a wide array of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and stress. A basic premise of CBT is that cognition (thoughts, beliefs and attitudes) affects how we feel. Thus, CBT aims to identify and modify problematic thinking patterns in an effort to improve mood and mental health. A second basic premise of CBT is that behaviours in response to problems also affect how we feel. Problematic behaviours like avoidance and withdrawal can make problems worse and can lead to negative feelings, whereas constructive behaviours in response to difficulties can improve upon a difficult situation and improve mood. Taken together, learning effective cognitive and behavioural coping strategies is crucial to improving how we feel. In CBT, you will learn that there is an interplay between thoughts, behaviours, and feelings. CBT aims to break problematic connections between thoughts and feelings and between behaviours and feelings. The overarching goal is to improve mood and sense of wellbeing. CBT is a brief therapy, aimed at encouraging clients to learn a series of strategies in order to become their own therapist in a timely fashion. The client works collaboratively with the therapist to identify specific goals for treatment. Sometimes the therapist suggests using a treatment manual as an adjunct to therapy, so that the client can continue to make progress toward their goals in between sessions.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples was developed by Dr. Sue Johnson and her colleagues. EFT has been shown to be an empirically-validated and brief psychotherapy for the treatment of relationship distress. A basic premise of this model is that distressed couples suffer because the attachment bond between them has eroded. The objective of therapy is to strengthen the couple’s bond, by helping partners move toward each other, such that they experience the relationship as a more secure base. Therapy guides partners through a series of steps and stages aimed at dismantling unhealthy interaction patterns and replacing them with new patterns of behaviour that facilitate a sense of attachment and closeness. In her work with couples, Dr. Benazon often encourages her clients to read Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson and An Emotionally Focused Workbook for Couples by Dr. Veronica Kallos-Lilly and Jennifer Fitzgerald.