Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that aims to help you manage your problems by changing how you think and behave. CBT encourages you to talk about how you think about yourself, the world, and other people as well as how what you do affects your thoughts and feelings.

CBT marries the cognitive approach (examining your thoughts) with a behavioural approach (the things you do) to help break overwhelming problems down into smaller parts, making them easier to manage.

CBT has become one of the most popular forms of talk therapy and is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for common mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.

CBT is quite active, and so you may be expected to take a proactive role and complete tasks at home. It examines learnt behaviours, habits, and negative thought patterns with the view of adapting and turning them into a positive.

Unlike some other therapies, CBT is rooted in the present and looks to the future. While past events and experiences are considered during the sessions, the focus is more on current concerns.

The emphasis on either behavioural or cognitive approaches will depend on the issue you are facing. For example, if you are suffering from anxiety or depression, the focus will be more on the cognitive, whereas if you have a condition that causes unhelpful behaviours (such as obsessive-compulsive disorder), the focus is likely to be more behavioural.

CBT is particularly helpful for those with specific issues, as it is very practical (as opposed to insight-based) and looks at solving the problem. CBT can often help with issues such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, addictions, sleeping problems, fears and phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and those wanting to change their behaviour.

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