According to Wikipedia, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapeutic approach that addresses dysfunctional emotions, maladaptive behaviours and cognitive processes. CBT achieves these outcomes through a number of goal-oriented, explicit systematic procedures.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is one of the most widely used clinical interventions. It is thought to be effective for the treatment of a variety of conditions related to mood, anxiety, and personality. Given the success and widespread application of CBT, it is surprising that it is rarely referred to as the basis or a component of work-place training or intervention. This is even more so surprising given that so many aspects of various training courses have elements of CBT and in particular the key premise that changing maladaptive thinking leads to change in affect and behaviour.

Many practitioners steer clear of using psychological terms to describe their interventions. This is somewhat of a shame as it leads to a situation where watered-down interventions result. The reality is that there is a range of quality techniques that have their genesis in the CBT movement and have a huge application for improving workplace relations and workplace productivity.

One workplace intervention that is explicit about links to CBT is Healthy Thinking, as developed by Dr. Tom Mulholland. Healthy thinking, or HT as it is commonly known, is at its core a reframing technique. The programme teaches participants how to become more aware of the impact of their thinking on their emotional state and how this leads to behaviour. The programme also has a range of simple to remember and simple to use cognitive cues that people can use to evaluate their thinking process and whether it is indeed help or hindrance.

As with all the products and training that OPRA promote we tend to adopt an approach of trialling internally first. Our motto is that unless we are convinced of a solution’s merits it is unlikely to have value to our clients.

While I had many insights that I could share from my experience with HT the one that I found most salient is that for psychology to have an impact it must be useable. HT works not only because it is in part based on aspects of CBT but that Dr Tom has packaged it in such an easy to remember framework. Being able to identify what type of unhealthy thinking I often resort to, and have an antidote at the ready has been invaluable for being able to have a positive impact on my thinking. Being able to TWIG (a mnemonic for processing a thought before allowing it to drive emotion and behaviour) ensures that I now have a process by which to evaluate whether a thought is useful or needs to be replaced. The removal of ‘Moan-Zones’ (places to have a whinge!) in our office has resulted in a much more positive working environment.

While the concepts of CBT may be perceived as the domain of psych professionals I strongly encourage all our clients to take a look at Healthy Thinking and identify applications to improving workplace performance. Whether it is a training course, e-learning, or just a book on how to be a healthier thinker I’m confident that there are lessons that all our clients will find enhancing. Click here for more information on Healthy Thinking.