Welcome to Creative CBT. This is the website of therapist/life coach Benjamin Mathews. Benjamin specialises in cognitive behavioural therapy via the internet. If you are new, why not check out the Getting started tab on the right hand side? Alternatively, click here if you would like to contact Benjamin or make an appointment.

Bipolar Disorder Comic

Bipolar Disorder Comic
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder associated with extreme mood swings, often highs and lows. Some of the symptoms of the manic phase can include inflated self-esteem, increased talkativity, racing thoughts, distractability, increased libido, increased engagement in high risk behaviours (e.g. unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, foolish business investments). Previously this disorder had been known as manic depression.

With any mental health condition. having a label or diagnosis doesn't always help. It is important to note that there is a lot of variation with symptoms for different sufferers. Each person is unique in their presentation and their condition. Your life situation is unique to you. For me personally, growing up I had several close friends and loved ones with bipolar disorder. I believe that it was this influence that led me to study psychology and inspired me to become a therapist and life coach.

Bipolar disorder is a serious disorder, and if you believe you are suffering from this disorder, please consider seeing your GP or therapy.

You may also be interested in reading:
Click here for more comics
Up/Down: A Documentary about Bipolar Disorder
Video: Overcoming Depression with CBT Techniques
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for ADHD

Creative CBT Newsletter January 2014

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! This month's Newsletter covers New Year's resolutions and how to increase your motivation and success with your goals. It also gives a sneak peak at a proof of concept trailer for one of my new documentaries. Why not subscribe? Just fill in your email address in the subscribe box on the right hand side of this page. Alternatively you can click here to read the newsletter.

Coming Soon... A New Documentary

Cognitive behavioural therapy is all about solving problems, but not all problems can be solved with therapy. For this reason I am working on a new documentary series aimed at raising awareness about current issues that are not receiving the attention they are due on mainstream television. For more information, check out www.abundancedenied.com or check out the trailer below:

New Year's Resolutions - Budgeting Accomplishments Part 2

 Back in August I wrote a post about budgeting your accomplishments, and I thought, given that we are a month into the new year, I think now would be a good time to write up an update. For many people there is a tradition to take up new year's resolutions, but almost inevitably, people fail to keep them. Why is it that people fail to keep them? Which resolutions are important to keep? Is an all or nothing approach really best?

Creative CBT Brochure

Creative CBT brochure, front
I just finished designing the new Creative Cognitive Behavioural Therapy brochure and sent it off to the printers. If you are looking for more information about Creative CBT, or would like to distribute the brochure at your place of work, please contact me and I will post them out to you with an information pack if you require. Alternatively, click on the images below to read them full size.

CBT for Anxiety and Related Conditions

Anxiety becomes problematic when it becomes overwhelming, maladaptive, or unwarranted. For some, anxiety may occur in excess in unwarranted situations. With cognitive behavioural therapy, however, the individual can learn ways of coping with the anxiety and, furthermore, reduce the anxiety that they experience.

De-Arousal Strategies and Relaxation Training

With many suffers of anxiety related conditions it is useful to learn techniques to reduce their physical symptoms of Anxiety. Anxiety from perceived threats creates a fight or flight response and physical symptoms such as trembling or shakingrestlessnessmuscle tensionsweatingshortness of breath, a racing or pounding heartbeatcold and clammy handsfast breathingdry mouthhot flushes or chillsfeeling sick or nauseated, and "butterflies" in the stomach. In order to reduce these symptoms a variety of techniques can be taught, such as breathing techniques, and relaxation training. With CBT we like to see measurable outcomes and to track progress over time, as such we will keep records of breathing rates and try to keep them to a recommended level. 

Thinking Strategies

Cognitive behavioural therapy also tries to tackle the perceptions that cause the anxiety / fight or flight response. Anxiety provoking thoughts are identified before the accuracy and usefulness of worries, fears and negative thoughts are assessed and challenged. New perspectives are also sought in order to further reduce the perception of threat and increase resilience to anxiety. 

Creative CBT Newsletter: What do you think about Christmas?

Christmas Newsletter
Today I sent out the Creative CBT Newsletter to subscribers, but if you are not yet a subscriber and are interested in reading the newsletter you can find it here: Creative CBT Newsletter: What do you think about Christmas?

The Newsletter contains an article, site updates and special offers (including special offers exclusive to newsletter subscribers). Here is a snippet from this issue of the Newsletter:

Christmas: Time of Joy or Stress?

The Christmas period can be filled with ups and downs. Here in the UK and Ireland it is a time for families and friends to come together and exchange presents. However, in these times, many may find themselves under great stress for a number of reasons; common stressors include: feeling alone, searching for presents, money issues, work related issues, disagreements with family members, or simply factors related to the weather. During these times it is up to us to fight back at the negative and to create our own positive meaning for the period. This year Benjamin created 12 comics illustrating 12 ways of thinking that create negative bias and negative affect, you can check them out on the website, or alternatively I have put them in the 2014 calendar which will be sent out free for all new and current clients.

The Creative CBT 2014 Calendar

The calendar is folded A3 size stapled in the centre with a single punch through the top. For each month there is a comic illustrating one of Aaron T. Beck's (the founder of cognitive therapy) 12 thinking errors. The comics themselves were all illustrated and laid out by Benjamin, most are from the website, but two are exclusive to the calendar. Each month also includes a description of the thinking error. The comics will be sent to all current clients and new clients that apply before February, but are also available for sale (just send an email to at Benjamin@creativecbt.net). If you keep an eye out on the facebook page I will also have one or two competitions for free calendars there too.

Creative CBT Calendar

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Behavioural Addictions

Internet Addiction - Facebook Cartoon
I recently wrote a review for a book about behavioural addictions, and as a result I thought it would be a good idea for me to write about how I treat behavioural addictions as a cognitive behavioural therapist. First of all however, let's talk about what a behavioural addiction is. Behavioural addictions been shown to cause the same changes in brain chemistry as substance addiction, and furthermore, like substance dependence disorders, can lead to failure to control the behaviour and continuation of the behaviour despite adverse consequences.

Creative CBT Calendar 2014: Thinking Errors

The Creative CBT 2014 calendar is now finished! The theme of the calendar is "thinking errors". The 12 thinking errors were first proposed by Aaron Beck, one of the founders of cognitive behavioural therapy. The calendar contains 12 original comics, one for each of Aaron Beck's thinking errors. The calendar is available free to current and new clients or for 19.99 euro/17.99 GBP to anyone else who might be interested.  The calendar itself is folded A3 sized with a single punch.  The comics are mostly from the website but have been recompositioned to fit the calendar. There are also two additional comics made especially for the calendar. Contact me to order a copy of the calendar or click below to see preview images of the calendar.

January - all or nothing thinking

Finding an Affordable Therapist

If you are considering therapy you are going to want to find a therapist who you can trust and who is within your price range. There are also a number of other things to consider, such as location, the type of therapy, and the therapist's areas of specialisation. In this article I am going to introduce you to some facts that you may not be aware of in order to help you save money and find a high quality psychotherapist.

CBT for OCD (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)  is characterised by anxiety related to obsessive thoughts or compulsions. The individual may have repeated thoughts of a distressing nature, such as fears of contamination, fears of being robbed due to leaving doors unlocked, fears of their house burning down due to not turning off an appliance, unwanted sexual thoughts, violent thoughts or other similarly distressing thoughts. To cope with these thoughts and to reduce anxiety, the individual will often perform a task, such as cleaning themselves, checking to see if doors are locked, checking to see that appliances are switched off, counting, or reassuring one's self or seeking the assurance of others.

Treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive compulsive disorder can be treated with the use of cognitive behavioural principles. This is done via addressing the distressing thoughts and by building up tolerance to the source of the stress. The therapist and client work together as a team to steadily increase the client's ability to endure the stressor without requiring the aid of unwanted or problematic coping mechanisms. While the first exposure may create significant distress initially, this discomfort will lessen over time.
CBT for OCD Exposure therapy first exposure graph

The Worst Day of My Life: Christmas (Comic #11)

Comic: the worst day of my life: Christmas

Tunnel Vision
This comic is based off of Aaron Beck's thinking error # 11: tunnel vision. Aaron Beck proposed of thinking errors as part of his formulation of cognitive behavioural therapy. With tunnel vision you see only the negative aspects of a situation and the positives are invisible to you. Here the boy is unable to be happy with his new toy, because all he can think of is that he does not have the other toy he wanted. Please visit the facebook page to like or comment on this comic.

Facemagazine - Creative CBT Comic 10

This comic is based off of Aaron Beck's thinking error # 6: magnification/minimization. Here magnification/minimisation refers to making small problems seem like really big problems and big successes seem like trivial accomplishments. Please visit the facebook page to like this comic. My goal is to reach 178 likes! ;)

Guest Blog on Writings in Psychology: Therapeutic Comics: An Introduction to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Three Thinking Errors

This week I wrote a guest blog entry for www.writingsinpsychology.com, the website of Maria Jordan-O'Reilly. The article is entitled Therapeutic Comics: An Introduction to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Three Thinking Errors. You can find read it here on writingsinpsychology.com or here on weebly. The article includes three of my comics on thinking errors along with a description of each thinking error. It also introduces cognitive behavioural therapy.

Self-Efficacy: Albert Bandura Drawing and Introduction

Albert Bandura Sketch
Today's sketch is of Albert Bandura, Stanford University professor emeritus of psychology. Bandura made many contributions to psychology and to psychotherapy, but two of his most notable contributions are regarding self-efficacy and observational learning.

The concept of self-efficacy is of key importance to motivational training and coaching as well as to overcoming depression and achieving one's personal goals. Self efficacy centres around the idea that people who believe that they can are more likely to try, and those who believe that they can't will be less likely to try and thus less likely to succeed. Of course, it is often true that the harder we try and the more effort we put into achieving a goal, the more likely we are to achieve that goal. Thus Bandura's concept of self-efficacy becomes central to success.

Monday Blues? An Extra 10% Discount Today Only!

I hate Mondays!

Is Monday getting the best of you? Get an extra 10% discount on your first therapy session if you apply today. That's 10% on top of the 50% discount currently running. More details below.
Contact me at:
Or use the application form:

The New Creative CBT Business Card

Benjamin Mathews - Cognitive Behavioural Therapist
My new business card! It looks simple, but actually it did take a lot of work - getting the composition right took some time and then there were quite a few errors when I tried to save the file as a pdf. I am happy enough with the design now though. Still waiting for them to arrive, hope they come out well! :) The card is double sided, see the other side after the jump!