Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is recommended by the Department of Health and the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) as the psychological therapy of choice for treating anxiety and depression based problems as well as phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic attacks. There is also a growing body of evidence for its effectiveness in treating a range of other problems including eating disorders and in anger management.
CBT is a structured collaborative form of therapy. It can be both short-term, dealing with single problems (often 6-10 sessions being sufficient) or longer-term dealing with more complex issues such as OCD. CBT involves developing an understanding as to how our thoughts, feelings (including our physiology) and behaviours interact with each other in the development and maintenance of our problems.
Its basic premise is that during times of distress the way people think about things changes in an unhelpful way. For example, when someone is depressed they are more likely to view aspects of their life in a negative, often critical way. This altered way of thinking can have an impact on the way we feel and the way we act which can reinforce our distress. For example, when we feel worse we become less sociable which increases our feelings of isolation and depression.
In understanding this process the aim is to be able to develop the skills to recognise and challenge our unhelpful thoughts, deal with our emotional components and look at changing our behavioural responses to improve the way we feel and live our day-to-day life.
CBT is a proactive form of therapy. Together, we will look at various ways of understanding and challenging your problems. This will involve us setting ‘self-help’ exercises to do between sessions. These are collaboratively discussed and set to help you make the most use of our sessions together. The ultimate aim of CBT is for you to become your self-therapist with enough understanding of your problems and the way you respond to them to be able to help yourself long after therapy has ended.