What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a talking therapy that helps you to understand how what you think (cognition), affects the way you feel and subsequently what you do (or don’t do) (behaviour). Through CBT, you can learn how these components relate to one another and find ways in which to challenge and change automatic thoughts or unhelpful thinking in order to feel better.  

How does it work?

The insights gained from this approach can help you to feel better relatively quickly and to help manage difficult feelings and behaviour. The focus of the therapy is largely on the ‘here and now’ although it often helps to link into understanding how current issues may have developed from past experiences.  

What can it help me with?

CBT is a leading evidence-based approach and research supports its effectiveness and usefulness for many different types of problems.

NICE recommends CBT in the treatment of the following conditions:

  • Anxiety disorders (including panic attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Depression
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Bipolar disorder

There is also good evidence that CBT is helpful in treating many other conditions, including:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chronic pain
  • Physical symptoms without a medical diagnosis
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Anger management

CBT can be used if you are on medication which has been prescribed by your GP. You can also use CBT on its own. This will depend on the difficulty you want help with.

Effectively CBT assumes a problem solving approach and aims to break down current issues into five main areas: situations, thoughts, feelings (emotions & physical sensations) and behaviour (actions).

What do I have to do?

Through discussion, exercises and ‘real-world’ tasks you can gain helpful insight into how these areas interrelate and learn effective ways in which to respond, challenge, change and manage your thinking, feelings and behaviour.