Cognitive and behaviour therapy

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy, based on the principles of learning theory and cognitive theory.

CBT links the relationships between the way we think, the way we behave, our mood and the changes in our bodies. Changing any one of these will affect the others.

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

CBT usually works with current issues, is limited in duration and more focused on problem-solving. In addition, it teaches specific skills that can be used in everyday life. These skills involve identifying distorted thinking, modifying dysfunctional beliefs, changing behaviours and problem solving.

The central belief of cognitive theory, is that emotions and behaviour are influenced by thoughts. Different thoughts give rise to different emotions. People don’t necessarily experience problems because of what’s happened to them, problems tend to arise from the meanings given to events which have been filtered through the core beliefs and assumptions, which have developed through life experiences.

CBT is built on a collaborative therapeutic relationship; the therapist supports the client to explore and learn the skills of CBT so that they become their own therapist and are able to manage them self in the future.

For example, one person reading this might think, “this is just what I’ve been looking for” and feels relieved. Another person might think, “this sounds great but I don’t think I can do it” and feels down and discouraged. So, it is not the situation that affects how people feel, but rather, their thoughts in that situation.

In therapy, the client and therapist will discuss specific difficulties and collaborate to set goals. This involves experimental work during and between sessions and a curiosity to ask questions and challenge thinking and behaviour and learn techniques to continue to do this after therapy finishes. The number of sessions depends on the problem.

It is not so much what happens to you, but how you view what has happened to you.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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