What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), is a talking therapy developed originally by Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s and 70s in America. In recent years, a number of therapies have incorporated the principles of CBT with mindfulness and other therapeutic strategies (e.g. Acceptance and Commitment therapy, Compassion Focused Therapy). CBT and related therapies are among  the most effective and popular psychological treatments and are recommended by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence for a range of common mental health problems.

CBT emphasises how our thoughts (cognitions) are closely linked with our feelings and what we do (behaviour). During times of mental distress, people think differently about themselves and what happens to them. Thoughts can become extreme and unhelpful, which can worsen how a person feels. As a consequence, they may then behave in ways that prolongs their distress. For example, by avoiding or withdrawing from people, situations or from pleasurable activities and interests.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

What happens in CBT?

CBT therapists work in a collaborative way with their clients in order to help each person develop more balanced and helpful ways of thinking, and to support them in changing self-defeating behaviour. The result is often a major improvement in how a person feels and the quality of their lives in general.

During sessions, the emphasis is on working in a practical, step-by-step manner toward achieving your goals. This also involves completing in-between session or ‘homework’ tasks (e.g. completing diaries of your thoughts and emotions or doing something different) to help you make gradual changes in your day-to-day life and relationships.

Is Cognitive behaviour therapy right for me?

CBT has been shown to be effective with many different types of problems, such as:

  • Anxiety & worry
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Phobias
  • Low self-esteem
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Sleep problems
  • Traumatic stress reactions including PTSD

If you want to learn skills and techniques to change limiting behaviours, negative thinking and beliefs associated with any of the above conditions then CBT may be the treatment that works best for you.

Recommended reading

The Overcoming series of self-help titles published by Robinson includes many excellent books on using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and related therapies such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Compassion Focused Therapy to overcome common mental health problems. Follow the link below for more information:

Read Some Client Stories

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