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What is CBT?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic approach which focuses on our thoughts and behaviours, and how they can influence the way we feel.

  • Cognitive = Thinking processes
  • Behavioural = Actions or responses
  • Therapy = process to overcome and enhance understanding of presenting problems.

CBT is aimed at helping individuals to overcome psychological problems. It is a “talk and do” type of therapy, which means time will be spent discussing problems and understanding them, as well as putting strategies in place to help you deal with the problem.

Your therapist will guide you in understanding this process further by helping you to make links between your thoughts and behaviours and your physical and emotional responses. Your therapist will also share with you evidence-based techniques to overcome and enhance your ability to deal with your problems.

The basic principles of CBT include:

  • Collaborative – The client and therapist work together and the client playing an active role in therapy
  • Problem- and goal-oriented – It focuses on the problem and how it impacts on you, and helps you set your own personal and therapeutic goals to work towards
  • Structured – Therapeutic interventions are implemented step-by-step; from assessment to discharge
  • Proactive – You just don’t talk about the problem, you do things to help you progress towards your goals
  • Evidence-based – Every intervention has been thoroughly tested and demonstrated to be effective
  • Short term – Treatment does not take years, and sometimes it takes only weeks, with timescales agreed between you and your therapist

CBT is very much a partnership between yourself and your therapist. Your effort and motivation for therapy are good predictors of positive outcomes.

As part of treatment, you will be expected to carry out out-of-session tasks and provide your therapist with feedback.

For more information on CBT, visit the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) website.