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What is CBT

More information about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychological therapy which can help you manage your mental health difficulties by breaking them down in to smaller parts.

‘Cognitive’ refers to the thoughts you have about yourself, other people, and the world around you. CBT will help you understand how your thoughts, attitudes and beliefs may affect how you feel, and subsequently your behaviour. ‘Behavioural’ then refers to what you do or don’t do because of how you are thinking and feeling.

Together with your therapist you work to understand how your thoughts, emotions and behaviours are interconnected and keep your symptoms going. This is also known as the ‘vicious cycle’. Once you and your therapist have a shared understanding of the vicious cycle, together you will start to devise some goals for change. 

CBT is a goal orientated therapy, hence you and your therapist will identify areas within your thoughts and behaviours that you wish to change in order to feel better and achieve your goals. CBT differs from other psychotherapies as it has a focus on promoting change in the ‘here and now’.

You will engage in strategies covered in sessions to form ‘Action Plans’ for the following week between your sessions, which will support you to make the changes you desire to your everyday life. This means for CBT to be effective you must be committed to completing the action plans outside of therapy sessions, which may be time consuming but compliment your therapy and recovery.

CBT is shown to be most effective when skills are practiced between sessions.  The aim of this is to enable you to become your own therapist, and enhance your ability to identify triggers and unhelpful cognitive behavioural patterns which precede your mood states. These skills help you to break the ‘vicious cycle’ for good. The focus of CBT change methods utilised in your therapy will depend on the presenting problem you are experiencing and will be customised to your individual needs.