Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT, is usually offered as a short to medium term psychotherapy and is suitable for treating a wide range of commonly experienced emotional and behavioural problems. It is aimed at helping clients learn how to identify and manage troublesome thoughts and behaviours so that they can find a more satisfactory and fulfilling way to live in the present.
Although some clients may find that reflecting on the past is helpful, this is not always necessary in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and the main focus of the work lies in changing the client’s day to day thoughts, feelings and behaviour patterns.
What does it involve?
Unlike other psychotherapies where you are encouraged to talk freely, in a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy session the client and therapist work together to identify how the client habitually thinks about themselves, the world and other people and how this influences their emotions and actions.
By identifying vicious cycles of thoughts, emotions and behaviours, client and therapist together can begin to see how to break out of these patterns. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy involves talking with the therapist every week or fortnight and may also include other activities such as keeping a diary or trying out new ways of responding to situations in between sessions.
Overall, the number of sessions you need will depend on your individual problems and objectives.
What are the Benefits?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy teaches clients how to become more aware of, and take control of, their own emotional health and wellbeing. It is the favoured approach for treating common mental health disorders amongst many organisations including the NHS and has a good evidence base for its effectiveness.
As well as treating anxiety and depression, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is also used in the treatment of:
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Social Anxiety
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- Personality Disorders