What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

CBT is an evidence based psychological therapy primarily used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. It can also help to treat people with eating disorders and other mood disorders. It is the recommended treatment for anxiety and depression according to the NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) guidelines.

CBT is based upon the idea that the way that we feel is affected by the way that we think and behave. CBT helps people to look at the relationship between their thoughts, feelings and behaviour and by working on these helps to make positive changes in their lives.

Someone who is feeling depressed may start to think that they are worthless and that no one likes them, this may lead them to avoid going out and to stop seeing family and friends. They may then begin to feel more depressed and start to have more negative thoughts about themselves and the future. These thoughts (negative cognitions) may sound something like "I am useless" or "I will never get better".

CBT helps people to identify these thoughts and cycles and see where they can begin to break out of them.

Someone with anxiety may think that they are going to become anxious in certain places such as the supermarket or on public transport. This may lead them to avoid these places which in the short-term reduces their anxiety, but in the long-term limits activities that they can do, lowers self-esteem and ultimately increases anxiety levels.

CBT helps people to learn tools and techniques to manage anxiety symptoms alongside helping people to face their feared situations.

CBT helps people to develop strategies that they can begin to apply to everyday situations in their life and eventually become their own therapist.

Read next: What is CBT treatment like?

CBT can also help specific problems such as PTSD, OCD, Health Anxiety, Social Anxiety & Panic Disorder amongst others, through the application of evidence based protocols.