Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a short-term therapy that can help us understand our own unique way of experiencing our worlds, highlight where this might have become stuck or problematic, and facilitate new ways forward.
CBT is based on the theory that the ways in which we think, how we feel (both emotionally and physically) and what we do are all closely linked together. It also recognises that these links often create vicious cycles, which can cause us distress.
CBT helps to identify these cycles and the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that keep them going. It can also provide a safe space in which to challenge unhelpful thinking and test out new ways of interacting with our worlds. By making meaningful changes to how we think and behave, we often find that we feel better. CBT is also focused on the here and now. Of course, the things that happen to us throughout our lives shape who we are, and therapy can help us understand how certain past events may be contributing to current distress. However the main focus of CBT is to give us tools to move forward with our lives from where we are in the present.
There is evidence to suggest that CBT may be an effective form of treatment for a variety of difficulties. These include: Depression, Anxiety, Stress, Worry, Sleep Problems, Low Self Esteem, Self Confidence, Phobias, Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia, Social Anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), Health Anxiety, Habit Disorders (e.g. skin picking or hair pulling) and Hoarding.
The typical length of CBT treatment is between 6 and 20 sessions, with each session usually lasting around 50 minutes. CBT also typically encourages the use of homework tasks to apply the learning from sessions in real life.
For further information about CBT, please see the The British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP).