In Saturday’s Times, psychotherapist Benjamin Fry laments the way the NHS handles mental health issues. In his experience the UK treatment model is a “CBT monoculture that has invalidated and decimated…other talking therapies.” He explains:
“CBT starts with the idea that our thoughts create our emotions and, therefore, our behaviour…the worst thing about CBT is that it relies on the idea that you are ill because you have the wrong thoughts; so if it doesn’t work, it’s your fault.”
There are a number of issues here:
First, is it true that thoughts cause emotions which determine our behaviour?
Second, are our thoughts the root of our troubles?
Thirdly, could it be that sometimes our illnesses are our own ‘fault’?
Here’s some of my (flawed!) thoughts…
That the heart (which is not the same thing as the “emotions”) shapes human personality.
That whilst there may be some problems we can rationalise, our minds are as fallen and fallible as the rest of us.
That we are both sinners and slaves. Whilst we can be sinned against, we’re also perpetrators of the sin. We make choices and mistakes that can have physical and mental consequences. And we can’t just think our way out.
What do you think? Where does CBT get it right? Where does it get things wrong?