Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy. If you are used to looking on the negative side of things it can help you to see things from a different perspective. This in turn can help to change how you feel and how you behave.
CBT is used to treat anxiety and depression but can also help other mental health problems. It can also help with physical problems too.
How CBT works
Negative thoughts, feelings, behaviour and physical sensations are all connected. CBT will help you to look at these and understand the vicious cycle that you may be trapped in. By doing this CBT will aim to help you deal with overwhelming problems in a more positive way by breaking them down into smaller parts.
Negative patterns and thought processes are challenged , and you will be shown how to change these negative patterns to improve the way you feel.
CBT deals with the here and now and looks at your current problems, rather than focusing on issues from your past.
CBT looks for practical ways to improve your state of mind on a daily basis, goal setting may be used.
CBT is used to treat many different mental conditions and has been proved to have been very effective.
It is used to treat:-
- bipolar disorder
- borderline personality disorder
- eating disorders
- obsessive compulsie disorder (OCD)
- panic disorder
- post traumatic disorder(PTSD)
- sleep problems
CBT is also sometimes used to treat people with long-term health conditions, such as:
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- chronic fatigue sydrome (CFS)
Although CBT cannot cure the physical symptoms of these conditions, it can help people cope better with their symptoms.
What happens during CBT sessions
If CBT is recommended, you’ll usually have a session with a therapist once a week or once every 2 weeks.
The course of treatment usually lasts for between 6 and 20 sessions, with each session lasting 50 minutes.
During the sessions, you’ll work with your therapist to break down your problems into their separate parts, such as your thoughts, physical feelings and actions.
You and your therapist will analyse these areas to work out if they’re unrealistic or unhelpful, and to determine the effect they have on each other and on you.
Your therapist will then be able to help you work out how to change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours.
After working out what you can change, your therapist will ask you to practise these changes in your daily life and you’ll discuss how you got on during the next session.
The eventual aim of therapy is to teach you to apply the skills you have learnt during treatment to your daily life.
This should help you manage your problems and stop them having a negative impact on your life, even after your course of treatment finishes.