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What is Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and why it’s Effective in Counselling?

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is a practical, short-term form of psychotherapy that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem solving.
CBT aims to help people to develop skills and strategies for becoming and staying healthy. Its goal is to change patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind people’s difficulties, and so change the way they feel. CBT focuses on the here-and-now and on the problems that come up in day-to-day life. CBT helps people to examine how they make sense of what is happening around them and how these perceptions affect the way they feel.
Research shows that CBT is one of the most effective treatments for anxiety. It is also an effective treatment for problems such as depression, chronic pain, disordered eating, anger issues, addiction, and low self-esteem (Whyllie, 2010).
CBT is effective in counselling because CBT gives people a new way of understanding and thinking about their problems. It also provides people with the skills to deal with the issues that they are struggling with right now.
In CBT, clients learn to identify, question, and change the thoughts, attitudes and beliefs related to the emotional and behavioural reactions that cause them difficulty.
By monitoring and recording thoughts during upsetting situations, people learn that how they think can contribute to emotional problems such as depression and anxiety. CBT helps to reduce these emotional problems by teaching clients to identify distortions in their thinking, see thoughts as ideas about what is going on, rather than as facts, and stand back from their thinking to consider situations from different viewpoints.

Opioids Epidemic in Canada

Opioids are classes of powerful drugs that are primarily prescribe to treat severe pain. Opioids are depressant drugs, like alcohol, meaning they slow down the part of the brain that controls breathing. Opioids include illicit drugs, such as heroin, fentanyl, as well as prescription medications, such as Percocet, morphine and codeine. Opioids are an effective medication when used as prescribed, but they carry a risk of addiction because of their powerful effects.
Canada is now the second largest consumer of prescription opioids, second only to the United States, and with a 203% increase in usage between 2000 and 2010 (Andresen, Martin, Boyd, Neil pg.112, 2009). That increase is greater than that of the United States, in spite of the US’s first place ranking for opioid use. An opioid overdose happens when a person takes an amount of a drug that is more than the body can process. The risk of overdose is higher when a person takes opioids in combination with other drugs (Kerr, et al., 2003). So far this year, 193 Albertans have died due to apparent drug overdoses related to fentanyl compared with 205 deaths during the same period last year.
Among users of opioid pain relievers, 5.2% (or 243,000 Canadians representing 0.9% of the total population) reported abusing them. Among adult users of opioid pain relievers, 3.1% (corresponding to 0.5% of the total adult population) abused such drugs, an increase over the 2011 rates” (Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey, 2012).
In Canada, the Government acknowledges that opioid overdose is a real threat to Canadians and with each passing day, more and more people are dying. The immediate goal is to make safe injection sites easier to open and fentanyl harder to smuggle into Canada (Broadhead et al., 2002). Safe injection sites (SIS) is a legally sanctioned health facility that offers a hygienic environment where people can use illicit drugs under the supervision of trained staff (Kerr, Wood, Small, Palepu, and Tyndall, 2003). In Canada, from 2004 to 2013, there has been a 41% increase in drug-induced deaths. It’s no secret that substance abuse is a major problem in Canada and people are dying of overdose of opioids (Kerr, et al., 2003).

Mental Health

According to World Health Organization (WHO, 2014), mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community. While mental health disorders are commonly known for their impact on health and well being, they also have an economic impact in terms of absenteeism, loss of productivity, unemployment and medical expenses.
In 2012, a total of 2.8 million Canadians aged 15 and older, or 10.1%, reported symptoms consistent with at least one of the following mental or substance use disorders: major depressive episode, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and abuse of or dependence on alcohol, cannabis or other drugs. Over the course of the lifetime, rates of substance use disorders were higher than the rates for mood disorders. About 6 million Canadians met the criteria for substance use disorder, while 3.5 million met the criteria for mood disorder. Females had higher rates of mood disorders and generalized anxiety disorder than males, while males had higher rates of substance use disorders.
Persons with mental disorders often suffer a wide range of human rights violations and social stigma.
Some people are more vulnerable and at higher risk of developing a mental illness than others. The factors that may contribute to a person’s risk include trauma and abuse, social isolation, homelessness, socio-economic disadvantage, physical or intellectual disability and genetic predisposition. Harmful use of alcohol and other drugs can significantly increase the occurrence of mental illness.
The first signs of mental illness may emerge in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood. Young people at risk of developing a mental illness may be those who have been bullied at school, children of parents with a mental illness, children linked with the criminal justice system, refugees and children brought up in a traumatic environment.
These children or young people at risk may already be linked to services offering counselling, or may be part of a youth group.
Stigma and discrimination are factors that can affect a person’s ability to seek help for mental illness. Stigma is a negative stereotype. Stigma is a reality for many people with a mental illness, and they report that how others judge them is one of their greatest barriers to a complete and satisfying life

What is Counselling and When To Seek Support?

The Oxford Dictionary defines counselling as the process of assisting and guiding clients, especially by a trained person on a professional basis, to resolve especially personal, social, or psychological problems and difficulties (Oxford, 2010). Counselling is a helping approach that highlights the emotional and intellectual experience of a client, how a client is feeling and what they think about the problem they have sought help for.
The role of the counsellor is to enable the client to explore many aspects of their life and feelings, by talking openly and freely. Talking in such a way it is rarely possible with family or friends, who are likely to be emotionally involved and have opinions and biases that may be detrimental to the success of the counselling.
During a counselling session, a counsellor is required to keep 100% confidentiality. Confidentiality is defined as the state whereby the counsellor keeps every information the clients shares and not disclosures it or shares it with anyone else. Confidentiality can only be broken with five exceptions. These include the client committing or planning to commit suicide, homicide, if the client is abusing a child or an elderly in an institution and lastly, if the client is court mandated.
Some of the problems that get in the way of a client during a counselling session include, unrealistic expectations, lacking motivation, self-sabotage, and when clients are reluctant, especially if the court mandates them.
It is hard for people to determine when they need counselling or even seek support because of the negative stigma associated with going to counselling. Contrary to popular misconception, you don’t have to be “crazy,” desperate or on the brink of a meltdown to go to therapy. You may need counselling if you always feel sad, angry, and not yourself all the time. Abuse drugs, alcohol, and food to cope in life. Someone who have lost a loved one or something important. Lastly, people who have gone through a traumatic experience might need counselling to help them deal with this event.
At C. S Counselling and Consulting Services, we guide our clients through non-judgmental, empathetic strategies to cope with a variety of issues and resume a happy, healthy day-to-day life. Counsellors are registered with their appropriate regulatory boards. Our counsellors specialize in family counselling, couple counselling, marriage counselling, individual counselling, child counselling, and counselling for grief, depression, anxiety, anger and trauma related issues.

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