Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sounds complicated. In fact CBT is a practical, structured problem-solving approach that scientific research has shown alleviates a variety of difficulties for many people including anxiety, post-traumatic stress, obsessive compulsive disorder and low mood. CBT is a recommended treatment for many difficulties by NICE, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. It is available within the NHS, including in the IAPT programme accessible through GPs.
CBT focuses on learning how to deal with current difficulties. CBT is a collaborative therapy, with the therapist working with you to identify your mood, thoughts and behaviours. Together we identify situations you find challenging, how you may automatically think about these and how this affects your feelings and the way you react. CBT includes considering alternative ways of looking at situations and experimenting with different ways of behaving. You are invited to practice recognising, challenging and testing out beliefs in and between CBT sessions. So you might work on tasks like keeping diaries, meditation or doing an agreed activity. CBT is typically time limited, with typically between 5 – 24 CBT sessions agreed, depending on need.
In summary CBT is a structured and collaborative treatment intervention focusing largely on the here-and-now, designed to help you manage yourself – to be your own therapist and to improve your wellbeing.