Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is a scientifically proven approach to psychological treatment. CBT aims to help people recognize and change their negative thought and behaviour patterns through learning to reframe these thoughts in more positive and helpful ways. Read on to learn more about CBT, how it can help you, and what to expect during a session with our resident counsellor Deedee Poyner, RPC.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT is an essential aspect of counselling sessions with Deedee Poyner, RPC. She uses CBT in combination with somatic therapy and mindfulness to help her clients heal past traumas and remove current roadblocks they may be facing. CBT focuses on bringing awareness to what we are thinking and feeling, as well as our actions. By choosing to change our negative self-talk we can positively affect our emotions and actions. 

Traditionally, CBT sessions do not go into past trauma, but Deedee often incorporates some inner child work into her CBT sessions, as it can be helpful to explore early memories and imprints that hold the same feelings and reactive behaviours we are struggling with today. This gives us an opportunity to gather insight and bring conscious awareness to our earliest memories of feeling certain ways that cause us distress, shedding light on how we express these feelings and how we act on them in the present.  

Core concepts

The core concept of CBT is that our thoughts, feelings, and actions are connected: the thoughts you think and the emotions you feel affect what you do. For example, if you are experiencing work stress and start thinking that you will never get a promotion or raise, these thoughts may affect how hard you work and even your job performance. 

The good news is that through CBT tools and techniques, Deedee can help you change these thought and behaviour patterns, resulting in more desirable outcomes.

How the cycle of thoughts and emotions can influence behaviour:

  • Negative thinking or incorrect perceptions lead to emotional distress and harm our mental health.
  • These thoughts and their subsequent emotions then lead to unhelpful or harmful behaviours.
  • Over time, these thoughts, emotions and subsequent actions can become a pattern of behaviours that repeat.
  • Becoming aware of, and then learning to change, these patterns of behaviour and the thoughts they lead to can help us manage problems as they arise.

What to expect during a CBT session

During her counselling sessions, Deedee combines CBT techniques with other forms of therapy and mindfulness to optimize what works best for each individual. An important aspect of many of her sessions is helping her clients to gain awareness of how their self-talk connects with their emotions and actions. She works with her clients to help them get out of their heads and into their hearts. To help replace anxiety-producing self-talk with more positive thoughts, Deedee will often introduce a “mantra.” A simple yet powerful example is “The Loving Kindness Mantra.” Try it for yourself: take a few deep breaths to ground into your heart centre and repeat the following phrases, either out loud or silently:  

May I be filled with loving kindness

May I be well 

May I be peaceful and at ease

May I be happy 

Deedee often hears from clients, that they rely on this mantra particularly during times of crises. Sometimes she will also have her clients create mantras that fit their particular emotional needs, such as:

I value myself

I love myself

I matter

Just as you would expect your teacher to assign homework after learning a new concept at school, you can also expect to have homework after a CBT session. The goal of the homework is to help you practice and develop the skills and techniques introduced in your session. The homework Deedee assigns varies depending on clients’ interests and needs, but generally it will be an activity that supports connecting with the heart centre, such as walking in nature, drawing, painting, journaling, meditating, or listening to music.

The goal of these methods is to move from focusing on negative and unhelpful thoughts to more positive and useful ones. For example, “I can’t do this, it’s too hard,” might become, “I have never done this before, but I have successfully faced challenges in the past.”

What can it help with?

CBT can help with a range of concerns and mental health conditions. As one of the most well researched therapy approaches, CBT has a number of studies detailing its efficacy. In fact, many experts consider it to be the current gold standard for therapy and the best method of treatment for a number of mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders, depression, addiction and substance abuse, and OCD. It can also be helpful for learning to manage relationship difficulties and other stressful life situations. CBT is often used in combination with other therapies for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), eating disorders, and borderline personality disorders. 

If you think Cognitive Behavioural Therapy may help you, or if you would like to learn more, email us at to book an appointment with Deedee Poyner, RPC.