What is CBT / EMDR?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a talking therapy. Other talking therapies you may have heard of include counselling, psychoanalysis, and group therapy. CBT is a short-term intervention that is backed up by a wealth of scientific research evidence. This research indicates that CBT can alleviate depression and anxiety with better long-term success rates than medication. CBT is the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE)’s recommended treatment for anxiety and depression [Please see the links below for copies of the guidelines]. For this reason, GPs often recommend CBT to their patients.

The basic principle of CBT is that our thoughts, feelings, behaviours and physiological sensations are all connected. By understanding the relationship between them, we can identify unhelpful cycles. We then apply practical skills and techniques to one or more of these areas, to bring about a positive effect on our sense of well-being. During treatment I will provide education on CBT so that you are really aware of the treatment. My aim is for you not just to feel better, but also have a really good understanding of how we got there. This then enables you to be a great therapist for yourself!

For more information about CBT – including its effectiveness and the difference between CBT and other talking therapies – please click on the following links:


NICE Guideline – Depression

NICE Guideline – Anxiety

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is a therapy which can help people who are experiencing psychological symptoms as a result of traumas such as road traffic accidents, sexual abuse, and physical attacks. Compared to CBT, EMDR can be less invasive and can be easier on the person suffering as it does not require repeated in-depth discussion of the event. A course of EMDR involves an assessment, followed by sessions (usually 2-4) to help you to regulate your emotions and manage distress. The second phase of EMDR treatment (around 4-12 sessions) involves ‘reprocessing’ of the trauma. These sessions are typically longer to ensure that the process is concluded each time.

Like CBT, EMDR’s effectiveness is supported by extensive scientific study and is highly recommended as a treatment for trauma. (NICE Guideline – PTSD: see point 1.6.18 in particular).

You may find the following website helpful in answering your questions about EMDR: https://emdrassociation.org.uk/a-unique-and-powerful-therapy/emdr-the-basics/. As with CBT, I’ll spend time with you discussing the treatment first so you can feel comfortable knowing what the plan is and whether you wish to continue.


During our first and subsequent sessions we will work together to think about the best approach for you. Treatment is tailored to you so that you feel in control of the therapy. If, at any point, you feel that an approach may not be the right approach for you, we can discuss other forms of therapy which may be more suitable. If I am not able to offer this, I will recommend other practitioners in the appropriate field.

Please do contact me should you wish to know more about either of these treatments. For more information on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, see my blog post: https://www.drbenjmead.co.uk/2015/06/