Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. It has been proved to help treat a wide range of emotional and physical health conditions in adults, young people and children. CBT looks at how we think about a situation and how this affects the way we act. In turn our actions can affect how we think and feel.

In CBT we will work collaboratively to identify and challenge any negative thinking patterns and behaviour which may be causing you difficulties and distress. In turn this can change the way you feel about situations, and enable you to change your behaviour in future.

We might focus on what is going on in your life right now, however, we might also look at your past, and think about how your past experiences impact the way you see the world.

What can CBT help with?

There is a great deal of research evidence to show that CBT works effectively in treating depression and anxiety disorders. This research has been carefully reviewed by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

NICE recommends CBT in the treatment of the following conditions:

  • anxiety disorders (including panic attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • depression
  • obsessive compulsive disorder
  • schizophrenia and psychosis
  • bipolar disorder

There is also good evidence that CBT is helpful in treating many other conditions, including:

  • chronic fatigue
  • behavioural difficulties in children
  • anxiety disorders in children
  • chronic pain
  • physical symptoms without a medical diagnosis
  • sleep difficulties
  • anger management

What to expect

CBT can be offered in individual sessions with a therapist or as part of a group. The number of CBT sessions you need depends on the difficulty you need help with. Often this will be between 5 and 20 weekly sessions lasting between 30 and 60 minutes each. During the sessions we will break down your problems into their separate parts such as your thoughts, physical feelings, emotions and actions. We will analyse these areas to work out if they’re unrealistic or unhelpful and to determine the effect they have on each other and on you. We will then work out how to change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours. This may be achieved by introducing cognitive and behavioural techniques and setting realistic goals. Within CBT it is important to practice these new skills outside the sessions and I will ask you to practise these changes in your daily life and you’ll discuss how you got on during the next session.

The eventual aim of therapy is to apply the skills you’ve learnt during treatment to your daily life whilst reducing any distress you may have been experiencing.