Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
therapy such as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) helps make sense of a persons’
emotional difficulties by breaking it down and looking at the
problem/experience within a CBT framework.
on the individuals thinking, emotions, behaviours and physiology, also taking
into account what has and is going on around them at the time of therapy. It helps to identify connections between your
thoughts feelings and behaviour and enables you to develop practical skills
that will act as coping mechanisms.
It is an
evidence based psychological intervention which is pragmatic and easy to work
with. It can be completed in a
relatively short period of time compared to other talking therapies, which
involves attending regular CBT sessions (usually weekly or fortnightly) and
carrying out extra work between sessions.
Depending on the problem, the therapy may take place in a clinic,
outside or in your own home.
It aids understanding and guides management of unwanted
distressful symptoms. The skills you
learn in CBT are useful, practical and helpful strategies that can be
incorporated into everyday life to help you cope better with future stresses
and difficulties even after the treatment has finished. CBT can
help you get to a point where you can tackle problems without the help of a
therapist – to become your own therapist.
from CBT, you need to commit yourself to the process and you need to be able to
think in psychological terms. More
generally, successful treatment depends on the people receiving it being
prepared to try to make their lives better, using the advice and support which
It is useful
if you can be clear about how you hope to benefit from the talking treatment. It will help you to make the best use of your
sessions and also to decide if it is proving to be useful for you. If you go along determined to make the most
of every session and be completely honest about yourself, it’s more likely to
What happens during CBT sessions?
session will be spent making sure CBT is the right therapy for you and that you
are comfortable with the process. The
therapist will ask questions about your life and background. If you are anxious or depressed, the
therapist will ask about your experiences, whether it interferes with your
family, work and social life. They will
also ask about events that may be related to your problems, treatments you have
had and what you would like to achieve through therapy. If CBT seems appropriate, the therapist will
let you know what to expect from a course of treatment and may indicate how
many sessions would be required. If it
is not appropriate, or you do not feel comfortable with it, they can recommend
During your CBT
sessions you will work collaboratively with your therapist to break down your
problems. Problems are broken down into
five main areas:
CBT is based
on the concept of these five areas being interconnected and affecting each
other. For example, your thoughts about
a certain situation can often affect how you feel both physically and
emotionally, as well as how you act in response.
You and your
therapist will analyse these areas to work out if they are unrealistic or
unhelpful and determine the effect they have on each other and on you. To help you with this, your therapist may ask
you to keep a diary or write down your thought and behaviour patterns. You and your therapist will analyse your
thoughts, feelings and behaviours and will then be able to help you work out how to question
and change inaccurate/unhelpful thoughts and behaviours. After working out what you can change, your therapist
will ask you to practise these changes in your daily life and you will discuss
how you got on during the next session. Your therapist will be able to make other
suggestions to help you. Confronting
fears and anxieties can be very difficult.
Your therapist will not ask you to do things you do not want to do and
will only work at a pace you are comfortable with. CBT is a collaborative process, your
therapist will not tell you what to do; they will work with you to find
solutions to your current difficulties. During
your sessions, your therapist will check you are comfortable with the progress
you are making.
What kind of relationship will it be?
relationship with a psychotherapist is very different from the one you make
with a friend. It’s a therapeutic
relationship or a working relationship. You
will find out very little about their personal life and their own difficulties
and struggles, but you will reveal a lot
Finding a CBT Therapist
If you are
considering having CBT privately, ask your GP if they can suggest a local therapist. The British Association for Behavioural &
Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) keeps a register of all accredited therapists
in the UK and the British Psychological Society has a directory of chartered
psychologists, some of whom specialise in CBT.