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What is CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)?

Change your thoughts, change your life

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talk and task-based approach that explores how your thoughts, emotions, behaviours and physical sensations all affect each other. This kind of therapy can also help you to develop coping skills for dealing with life’s challenges. CBT therapists tend to focus on your current life issues and any changes you can make, rather than exploring your past or childhood in too much depth.

One of the key aspects of CBT is recognising that thoughts are not facts, which is a good first step in learning how to manage them. This in turn can help you to let go of unhealthy habits, for instance, avoiding socialising because deep down you believe that you are ‘boring’. Another key aspect of CBT is setting life goals to work towards.

How does CBT work?

CBT focuses on helping you to identify and manage unhelpful ways of thinking. One example is ‘catastrophising’, where you might be in the habit of imagining the worst possible outcome to scenarios. In this case, a CBT therapist can help you to see the impact this has on how you feel about yourself and the actions that you take. If we expect the worst, then we can create a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ where things actually do turn out badly. CBT can help you to break the vicious cycle of inadvertently creating undesirable situations, then seeing this as ‘proof’ that you are ‘unlucky’ or ‘doomed to fail’.

CBT can also help you to identify the ‘triggers’ that lead to negative thought cycles in the first place. This way, you can become more self-aware and learn to replace these thoughts with more balanced ones, leading to more positive behaviours. A CBT therapist can also support you in breaking down big, seemingly unmanageable problems into smaller, more easily solvable parts.

As this is a practical, problem-focused and action-based therapy, clients are often given tasks to do between sessions. For instance, you might be asked to gather information and try out new ways of responding to situations. You will also be encouraged to set goals to work towards. For this reason, CBT often works best with motivated clients who are willing to practice new skills outside of therapy sessions.

CBT also tends to work well as a short-term, focused therapy taking place over weeks or months.

What can CBT help with?

Depression or low mood, anxiety, anger, addiction, eating issues, wellbeing, self-esteem, psychosis, bipolar, trauma, personality disorder, child & teen issues, relationship issues.

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