What is CBT? Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a highly effective style of therapy, which looks at how your thoughts, feelings and behaviours impact each other and maintain difficulties, which can hold you back in your life.
It is a collaborative therapy so you work with your therapist to develop new understandings of your experiences and then develop new more helpful ways to move forward, this is often achieved through experiments and testing things out in-between sessions until you reach your therapy goal.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is an evidence-based approach, recommended by the NICE guidelines. NICE stands for the National Institute of Clinical Excellence and are the standards set out by the government for the treatment of all illnesses.
CBT has been found to be effective in hundreds of clinical trials for many different disorders. Cognitive refers to our thoughts and behavioural is about what we do.
In simple terms the therapy explores the way we think and the things we do which are maintaining problems. It doesn’t stop here the overall aim is to alter unhelpful thinking and behavioural styles to ensure you operate at the optimum level for yourself. Cognitive behavioural therapy is focused on the present and involves the therapist and client working as a partnership to explore your individual needs, it’s time-limited between 6 and 20 sessions depending on what you feel is right for you, it’s a problem-solving approach and you will learn specific skills that you can use for the rest of your life.
These skills involve identifying and altering unhelpful thinking, modifying unhelpful beliefs, relating to others in different ways and changing behaviours. Each session is about 50 minutes and provided either weekly or fortnightly. Sometimes there are things to do between sessions to enhance the quality and effectiveness of therapy.
In your first couple of sessions, I will undertake an assessment, where we will go over the problems in detail so we have a shared understanding of what you are experiencing.
This is an understanding of how the problems you have are maintained in terms of the relationship between past experiences, thoughts and beliefs, emotional states, physical symptoms and behavioural patterns. I would write this down on paper for you to keep, most people find this experience in itself very helpful as you begin to develop a clarity and a sense of being able to work through the difficulties.
At this point we will discuss how to move forward and treatment options so you know what treatment will involve before you embark fully into the treatment section of therapy. If you decide CBT is not right for you I will be able to provide recommendations of other therapies and therapist from the wide network I'm involved in. However CBT is a useful and empowering tool for a whole range of issues.
For further information about cognitive behavioural therapy please see -CBT Information Leaflet