What is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)?

CBT is a short-term, practical, solution-focused form of therapy combining techniques that will help you to confront and correct biases and problems in the ways you think, and feel, and to arm you with strategies and tools to use in the future. CBT can last anywhere between six and 30 sessions depending on the particular problems and needs of the client.

The CBT therapist works collaboratively with the client to help them to identify dysfunctional patterns of thoughts and behaviours and replace them with more suitable techniques and ideas. This helps the client to become their own therapist, so that when they face difficult situations in the future, after the end of therapy, they are able to successfully tackle them alone.

Although CBT therapists do not entirely disregard the past and causes of the client’s problems, the focus is very much on the present and on what is maintaining the issue. It is very much based on the tenet that we cannot change our past, but we can change the way we deal with things in the present to shape a more positive future.

Who benefits from cognitive behavioural therapy?

CBT is a fairly new style of therapy and has the benefit of a great deal of research backing it up. It is often cited by NICE as the best talking therapy for a specific problem. Anxiety, phobias, depression, OCD, insomnia, menopause and anger problems all respond well to CBT treatment. There are no age specifications, and CBT is also used extensively with adolescents.

Welldoing.org therapist Louise Carroll:

"If you are looking for a therapy that follows a logical and strategic process to help you move forward and change the emotions that are holding you back, then CBT is a good option to explore. Unlike traditional psychoanalytic therapy, which focuses more on the past, CBT addresses what is happening now. It takes past events and influences into account to help understand why you are experiencing emotional problems, but focuses on creating solutions and strategies to bring about long-term change. In fact the philosophy learned can be applied throughout your life to any situations. In effect, you can become your own therapist.

Hence CBT is a therapy for modern times, encouraging you to take responsibility for your feelings, empowering you with emotional awareness, and providing subtle, yet effective ways to cope with life’s challenges."

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This information has been vetted by a professional member of the welldoing directory

Last updated on 10 January 2019