What Is CBT?
CBT or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a structured psychological therapy delivered via individual sessions with a therapist or as part of a group. It’s been proven to help treat a wide range of emotional and physical health conditions in adults, young people and children.
Rather than addressing and getting help with difficulties in your past, CBT is mainly concerned with how you think and act now. It focusses on what’s maintaining your difficulties.
CBT is based on the idea that whenever we feel an emotion there are changes in:
- how we physically feel in our bodies
- how we think
- how we behave
These changes don’t operate in isolation. How you think about a situation affects the way you act. In turn, your actions can affect how you think and feel. This creates a vicious cycle that keeps us feeling low and anxious.
Your CBT therapist will work with you to help you develop a better understanding of your mind and learn new ways of thinking and acting. This can help reduce emotional distress and improve the quality of your life.
Who Is It For?
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends CBT for the following disorders:
- Chronic worry (or Generalised Anxiety Disorder)
- Panic attacks and agoraphobia
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
There is also an evidence base for CBT being effective for the following problems:
- Low self esteem
- Sleep difficulties
- Health anxiety
What to Expect
CBT isn’t a quick fix. It involves hard work during and between sessions. The number of CBT sessions you need depends on the difficulty you need help with. To give you a rough idea, people often have between eight and twenty weekly sessions lasting between 50 to 60 minutes each.
CBT encourages you to become your own therapist by carrying out ‘homework’ tasks between sessions. This usually involves experimenting with altering the way you think about something and/or how you act in a certain situation.
CBT is a collaborative process. You, the patient, and your therapist are both experts. You’re the expert on how you’re feeling, and your therapist has some expertise in CBT. Your therapist won’t tell you what to do. Instead, they’ll help you decide what difficulties you want to work on in order to improve your situation. Working in partnership, you’ll discuss these difficulties and set goals for you to achieve. You’ll then work together to change your behaviours and/or thinking patterns.
Your therapist will also be able to advise you on how to continue using CBT techniques in your daily life after your treatment ends.
CBT at Yorkshire Psychotherapy