Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT, is one of a range of therapies that aims to help resolve psychological issues that a person may be experiencing. This could result from a range of sources, but which impact negatively on a person’s behaviour and may affect their interaction with family, friends and society in general.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is a talking therapy that aims to change or recondition the way a person thinks, behaves or the way they feel about themselves. It does not aim to remove problems, but rather to provide tools for understanding and modifying behaviour. This typically includes identifying negative patterns of behaviour which are repeated and self-sustaining, and finding ways to approach them in a new way.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is used to treat a wide range of psychological and behavioural disorders, including:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is conducted by a trained therapist who will teach new techniques and skills to a client which are aimed at altering their existing pattern of behaviour. Other talking therapies include counselling, group therapy and psychotherapy; amongst others. CBT differs from these treatments in that it is not concerned with the sufferers past; rather the focus is on the difficulties being experienced in the present. CBT has been shown to be as effective in the treatment of anxiety and depression, and is often favoured to taking medication, which often has undesirable side effects.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy takes a methodical approach to dealing with a person and their problems, and can be described as developing a constructive approach to dealing with and reacting to a situation. The first step will be for the therapist to assess and identify the client, and determine what particular problem is affecting them. Once this is accomplished, the therapist can begin educating the client about their particular condition. Tackling the problem often involves setting achievable goals together with strategies to help reach these targets. These strategies are often practised with the therapist, and can involve techniques such as keeping a diary, positive self-talk sessions and other self help techniques. Compared to other talking therapies, CBT is often conducted over a much shorter time period, typically over weekly or fortnightly sessions that last no longer than six months. CBT is available on the NHS for a wide range of conditions, or privately.