What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) ?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a collaborative, practical and problem oriented approach to emotional problems whereby the client and therapist work together toward understanding difficulties in terms of the relationship between thoughts, feelings, body responses and behaviour.
CBT is based on the concept that how we think, how we act, how we feel and what we experience in our bodies all interact together. This cyclic relationship is illustrated in the diagram.
How does Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) work?
CBT helps clients break the vicious circle of altered and unhelpful thinking and behaviour. The therapy focus on the thoughts, images, beliefs and attitudes that we hold, the personal meaning we associate with these and how this relates to our behaviour. We work to help clients learn more useful ways of thinking and coping.
What can Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) treat?
CBT is effective for a wide range of emotional problems from relationship problems, substance abuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social phobia, anxiety, depression, compulsive gambling and eating disorders. Its efficacy has been proven through major research studies.
What does the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) process involve?
The CBT process is usually of 6-8 week duration. The client works with the therapist to understand each problem and break it down into its component parts. This helps identify individual patterns of thoughts, emotions, bodily feelings and actions which are causing distress and we can then trace the underlying beliefs that maintain them. After identifying and agreeing collaboratively what beliefs the client might change, the therapist may recommend ‘homework’ assignments the client can complete and practice outside the sessions to counter or disprove these beliefs. To assist in this process the therapist may invite the client to keep a log or a diary. The strength of CBT is that the client can continue to practise and develop their skills even after the sessions have finished, making it less likely that symptoms or problems will return. CBT can be used exclusively or it can be integrated with other therapeutic approaches such as humanistic or psychodynamic depending on the needs and requirements of the client.