What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT?
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is a specific type of treatment approach for a range of emotional and mental health issues. These issues may include depression anxiety and some obsessive compulsive dis orders.
The objective of CBT is to help a person identify, challenge and ultimately change unhelpful thoughts by using practical strategies to change one’s thinking. Creating new pathways by using affirmations is one technique commonly used in therapy.
Strategies are designed to bring about positive changes in the person’s life. Awareness is the key. Until we can become aware of a particular behaviour, then we cannot; or may not want to do anything about it.
It is not until the behaviour becomes unbearable that a person may seek help, however once again awareness is the key. A skilled Therapist is able to recognize and identify the problematic behaviour in the person and then based on her/his findings develop strategies to commence creating change by assisting in the development of new Neural Pathways in that person.
CBT is used to treat a range of psychological problems including:
- Confidence issues
- Eating disorders
- Low self-esteem
- Problem gambling
- Relationship / Marriage / Couple problems
- Substance abuse, such as smoking, drinking or other drug use
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
The aim of cognitive therapy is to change the way the person thinks. Negative thoughts cause self-destructive feelings and in turn negative behaviours. For example, someone who thinks they are unworthy of love or respect may feel withdrawn in social situations and behave shyly.
The aim of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is to challenge those thoughts and provide the person with strategies to produce a more positive approach to the issue or thought .
Behaviour therapy teaches the person more helpful behaviours. For example, they may be taught conversational skills that they practise in therapy and in social situations. Negative thoughts and feelings reduce as the person discovers they can enjoy themselves in social situations.
Therapists that provide CBT?
Counsellors, Psychologists and Psychotherapists can all provide CBT, either in one-on-one therapy sessions, small groups or online. People are trained to look logically at the evidence for their negative thoughts, and to adjust the way they view situations and the world around them.
An experienced therapist will provide ‘homework’ for between sessions. Generally, 6 to 10 sessions are required but the number will vary from person to person.
Please consider these requirements
- CBT requires you to actively participate in treatment. For example, you may be asked to keep detailed diaries on thoughts, feelings and behaviours. If you are not prepared to put in the work, you may be disappointed with the results of CBT.
- CBT involves a close working relationship between you and your therapist. Professional trust and respect is important. If you don’t like the therapist at the first interview, look for another one.
- While CBT is considered a short-term form of psychotherapy, it may still take months or longer for you to successfully challenge and overcome unhealthy patterns of thinking and behaviour. CBT may disappoint you if you are looking for a ‘quick fix’.
- CBT may not be the best form of therapy for people with any type of brain disease or injury that impairs their rational thinking.