Counselling, Psychotherapy and Clinical Psychology299

CBT - Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on changing the way you think about yourself and the world around you. CBT is focused mainly on the present and helps you to create healthy and realistic alternatives to current problematic thoughts, emotions and behaviours. It is a structured approach that helps you discover the source of your problem and enables you to think and act in more appropriate ways. 

CBT offers proven techniques for solving and treating a variety of conditions and problems. These include: anxiety, depression, panic, phobias (including agoraphobia and social phobia), stress, bulimia, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and psychosis. CBT may also help if you have difficulties with anger, a low opinion of yourself or physical health problems, like pain or fatigue.

CBT can help you to make sense of a problem or problems that seem to overwhelm you by breaking them down into smaller parts. This makes it easier to see how they are connected and how they affect you. These parts are:

A Situation - a problem, event or difficult situation. From this can follow:
Thoughts
Emotions
Physical feelings
Actions

Each of these areas can affect the others like a 'vicious circle' that can make you feel worse and even create new situations that may mimic health problems. How you think about a problem can affect how you feel physically and emotionally.  You can start to believe quite unrealistic (and unpleasant) things about yourself. This happens because, when we are distressed, we are more likely to jump to conclusions and to interpret things in extreme and unhelpful ways. CBT can help you to break this vicious circle of altered thinking, feelings and behaviour. When you see the parts of the sequence clearly, you can change them - and so change the way you feel.

CBT is one of the most effective treatments for conditions where anxiety or depression is the main problem. It is the most effective psychological treatment for moderate and severe depression and is as effective as antidepressants for many types of depression.

CBT is not a quick fix. A good therapist is like a personal trainer who will pace your sessions and advise and encourage - but cannot 'do' it for you. You decide what you do together, so you stay in control. The therapy aims to get you to a point where you can 'do it for yourself'. Your CBT skills can become life skills that you can continue to practise as required - even when you're feeling better.