Cognitive Behavioural Therapy ( CBT )
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy “treats”, or addresses, psychological difficulties through talking. It aims to help you identify and question unhelpful thoughts and unhelpful behaviours and believes these contribute to why you may feel low, stressed, angry, guilty (and other feelings). By identifying these thoughts in particular situations, and then trying to tackle these thoughts and behaviours, it is possible to improve how you feel. Sometimes understanding these thoughts and how they effect your behaviours and emotions may be challenging at first, but in therapy you will work at trying to identify patterns- which helps increase your understanding of why you feel the way you do.
During our sessions we will discuss what difficulties you are experiencing in your life at the moment, and how your thoughts and feelings may be contributing to them. We will work together to find you ways of helping you to learn new skills to reduce and manage these problems.
The focus of the therapy/counselling is to enable you to generate solutions to your own problems that are more helpful than your present way of coping. It can be useful for both you and me if we can identify a few goals at the beginning of therapy, so we have something tangible to work towards. Along with the goals we can work to a weekly “agenda” (set at the beginning of the session by us both) - this keeps the sessions focussed on what the goals are.
Most people can be helped with between 6-10 sessions, although some folk may require a few less or more, depending on the nature and severity of the problem. Sessions will be reviewed frequently, to make sure we are going in the right direction of the goals (which are continually monitored and evaluated).
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is typically:
Short-term /time limited
Practical and concrete
Focussed on the here and now
Goal orientated - and reviewed regularly
Collaborative - we work together, as a team
Low/medium or high intensity
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy helps you develop successful life-long strategies for managing your thoughts, moods and behaviour. Evidence has shown that it can prevent future psychological problems, as you learn new tools to deal with your personal issues in a more helpful way.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is recommended by national guidelines like, www.nice.org.uk and www.sign.ac.uk as an effective "talking therapy" for many psychological issues - depression, anxiety and stress, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders, low self esteem, etc.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence provides an overview of the evidence supporting the effectiveness of CBT. A useful summary about CBT is also available from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.