Is CBT for me?
14th December, 2008
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Abuse (Sexual, Verbal, Psychological)
Relationship and personal issues
EAP [Employee Assistance Programme]
What is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)?
Our 'cognitive processes' are our thoughts which include our ideas, mental images, beliefs and attitudes. Cognitive therapy is based on the principle that certain ways of thinking can trigger, or 'fuel', certain health problems. For example, anxiety, depression, phobias, etc, but there are others including physical problems. The therapist helps you to understand your current thought patterns. In particular, to identify any harmful, unhelpful, and 'false' ideas or thoughts which you have that can trigger your health problem, or make it worse. The aim is then to change your ways of thinking to avoid these ideas. Also, to help your thought patterns to be more realistic and helpful
Most courses of CBT last for several weeks. It is common to have 10-15 sessions, but a course of CBT can be longer or shorter, depending on the nature and severity of the condition. In some situations CBT sessions can be done by telephone.
CBT has been shown in clinical trials to help ease symptoms of various health problems. For example, research studies have shown that a course of CBT is just as effective as medication in treating depression and certain anxiety disorders. There may be long-term benefits of CBT as the techniques to combat these problems can be used for the rest of your life to help to keep symptoms away. So, for example, depression or anxiety are less likely to recur in the future. There is good research evidence too to show that CBT can help to improve symptoms of some physical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
What is the difference between CBT and other talking treatments?
CBT is one type of psychotherapy ('talking treatment'). Unlike other types of psychotherapy it does not involve 'talking freely', or dwell on events in your past to gain insight into your emotional state of mind. It is not a 'lie on the couch and tell all' type of therapy.
CBT tends to deal with the 'here and now' - how your current thoughts and behaviours are affecting you now. It recognises that events in your past have shaped the way that you currently think and behave. In particular, thought patterns and behaviours learned in childhood, However, CBT does not dwell on the past, but aims to find solutions to how to change your current thoughts and behaviours so that you can function better in the future.
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