Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

What Is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?

It is a way of talking about:

  • How you think about yourself, the world and other people
  • How what you do affects your thoughts and feelings.

It describes a number of therapies that all have a similar approach to solving problems, which can range from sleeping difficulties or relationship problems, to drug and alcohol abuse or anxiety and depression. CBT works by changing people’s attitudes and their behaviour. The therapies focus on the thoughts, images, beliefs and attitudes that we hold (our cognitive processes) and how this relates to the way we behave, as a way of dealing with emotional problems.

An important advantage of CBT is that it tends to be short, taking three to six months for most emotional problems. Clients attend a session a week, each session lasting either 50 minutes or an hour. During this time, the client and therapist are working together to understand what the problems are and to develop a new strategy for tackling them.

CBT introduces them to a set of principles that they can apply whenever they need to, and which will stand them in good stead throughout their lives.

CBT is a combination of psychotherapy and behavioural therapy. Psychotherapy emphasises the importance of the personal meaning we place on things and how thinking patterns begin in childhood. Behavioural therapy pays close attention to the relationship between our problems, our behaviour and our thoughts.

What Conditions Can It Help?

  • Depression and mood swings
  • Shyness and social anxiety
  • Panic attacks and phobias
  • Obsessions and compulsions (OCD and related conditions)
  • Chronic anxiety or worry
  • Post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSD and related conditions)
  • Eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia) and obesity
  • Insomnia and other sleep problems
  • Difficulty establishing or staying in relationships
  • Problems with marriage or other relationships you’re already in
  • Job, career or school difficulties
  • Feeling “stressed out”
  • Insufficient self-esteem accepting or respecting yourself
  • Inadequate coping skills, or ill-chosen methods of coping
  • Passivity, procrastination and “passive aggression”
  • Substance abuse, co-dependency and “enabling”
  • Trouble keeping feelings such as anger, sadness, fear, guilt, shame, eagerness, excitement, etc., within bounds
  • Over-inhibition of feelings or expression