Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

What is CBT?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy, based on the theory that thoughts, feelings, what we do and how our body feels are all connected. If we change one of these, we can alter the others.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is most effective in the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, panic, PTSD, bipolar disorder, psychosis and phobias (including agoraphobia and social phobia). Difficulties with sleep, anger management, low self-esteem and physical health problems can also be tackled by CBT.

When we feel worried or distressed, we often fall into patterns of thinking and responding which can worsen how we feel. CBT helps us notice and change problematic thinking styles or behaviour patterns so we can feel better.

How does it work and is it effective?

  • You and your therapist will work together to break down your problems into separate parts: the situation, thoughts, physical feelings and actions.
  • You will keep a diary/write down your thoughts and behaviour You will also be set homework tasks between sessions.
  • You and your therapist will analyse your thoughts, feelings and behaviours to work out if they are unrealistic or unhelpful and to determine the effect they have on each other and on you.
  • After working out what you can change, you will practice these changes in your everyday life.
  • Sometimes exposure sessions may be suited to a particular anxiety or phobia, which can take place outside of the clinic (with both you and the therapist, should you wish to receive face-to-face CBT).
  • Subsequent sessions will center upon your progress with adopting these changes; eventually, you will hopefully be able to apply your learned skills during CBT to your daily life.
  • CBT has a very wide evidence base and is one of the most popular therapeutic approaches.