Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. It is based on the idea that thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious downhill cycle. CBT aims to help you to break down overwhelming problems and work through them a little at a time, changing negative patterns and increasing positive feelings.
CBT only deals with your current problems, rather than the past in a practical way.
Uses for CBT
- depression / anxiety disorders
- obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- panic disorder
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- eating disorders – such as anorexia and bulimia
- problems related to addiction
- sleep problems
- managing chronic pain/chronic fatigue syndrome
What to expect
If CBT is recommended, you’ll need to have sessions every one to two weeks. Each session lasts 50 mins. During these sessions, we will break down your problems into thoughts, physical feelings, behaviours and emotions going on to look at the effect these have on you and your situation. We will then be work out how to change these and make life more positive. You will be asked to practise changes/ new skills at home as sessions progress.
Pros and cons of CBT
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be as effective as medication in treating some mental health problems, but it may not be successful or suitable for everyone.
Advantages of CBT include:
- it may be helpful in cases where medication alone hasn’t worked
- it can be completed in a relatively short period of time compared with other talking therapies
- CBT is highly structured and uses, worksheets, relaxation techniques and apps
- it teaches you useful and practical strategies that can be used in everyday life, even after the treatment has finished
- CBT can feel more comfortable for those who struggle to talk freely in a one to one situation.
Disadvantages of CBT to consider include:
- you need to commit yourself to working through your problems with guidance.
- Practising new skills at home can be time consuming.It’s not always suitable for people with complex mental health needs or learning difficulties
- it can involve confronting your emotions and anxieties which can be uncomfortable.
- it focuses on you as an individual, not wider problems or families/relationships
- CBT addresses current problems and issues, it doesn’t address the underlying causes