Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a treatment approach that helps you recognise negative or unhelpful thoughts and behaviour patterns. We use it to treat a wide range of issues and help you identify and cope with specific challenges.
This blog post will give you some background on CBT, including what conditions it can help with. We also discuss what a CBT session involves and how we can help you decide whether it’s for you.
What is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)?
CBT is a talking therapy that helps you learn more helpful ways of thinking and reacting in everyday situations. It can work for people of any age, including children, and generally requires fewer sessions than other types of therapy.
Unlike some other talking therapies, CBT focuses on your current challenges rather than past experiences. It aims to improve your state of mind by teaching you to spot links between your thoughts, actions and feelings.
Watch our video to learn more about CBT therapy:
Conditions we can treat with CBT
CBT can help with many mental health conditions, including:
- Panic disorders and phobias
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
CBT can also help with other problems, including:
- Sleep difficulties
- Low self-esteem
- Physical health problems, such as chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and extreme tiredness
CBT may not cure a chronic health condition completely. But, it can give you the power to cope with your situation in a healthier way. So you can feel better about yourself and your life.
What happens during a CBT session?
In your first few sessions, we will check that you feel comfortable with the treatment. While CBT doesn’t focus on the past, we will still need to ask some questions about your life and background. So we can understand how it is affecting you now.
In each session, you and the therapist will agree on what to discuss that day. This may include looking at homework and talking through any problems you’ve had since the last session.
CBT involves using a range of techniques to replace unhelpful or self-defeating thoughts with more encouraging and realistic ones. We will work with you to find the techniques that work best for you.
During CBT, we work together to find new ways of dealing with problems and set goals to help you change. When CBT is successful, it can help you to feel more in control of your life.
Typical CBT techniques include:
- Setting meaningful goals
- Guided discovery and questioning
- Journaling and thought recording
- Learning new problem-solving skills
- Replacing negative thoughts with compassionate, constructive self-talk
- Cognitive restructuring – looking at any distortions affecting your thinking, such as building things up or making assumptions, and starting to unravel them
- Situational exposure – slowly exposing yourself to things that cause you distress until they lead to fewer negative feelings
- Reconnecting with meaningful, valued activity
- Assistance in making decisions that lead to improved circumstances
- Learning how to face fears and challenges
- Using role play and calming techniques when faced with potentially challenging situations
During CBT therapy, we try to help you gain confidence so you better appreciate your self-worth.
At the end of the CBT course, you will create a personal plan. This includes how you can use the skills you’ve learned to deal with difficulties you encounter in the future.
What is CBT homework?
CBT generally focuses on specific problems, using a goal-oriented approach. Your therapist will ask you to do homework to build on what you’re learning during your sessions and encourage you to apply it in your daily life.
Homework is a key part of CBT. It helps you practice the skills you’re developing, such as replacing self-criticising thoughts with self-compassionate ones. You might also keep track of negative thoughts in a journal.
Alternatives to cognitive behavioural therapy
CBT is not an immediate fix and isn’t effective for all problems. Speak to your therapist if the sessions need to be adjusted. A good therapist will allow you to be in control and decide what to cover in your appointments.
Tips to get the most out of therapy
- Approach it as a partnership with your therapist
- Be an active participant
- Be open and honest
- Stick to your treatment plan
- Do your homework between sessions
- Don’t expect instant results
However, even if you are doing all these, other treatments might work better for you. These might include other types of talking therapy or medications like antidepressants.
While treating severe depression, CBT often works best alongside antidepressants. It can be hard to change the way you think until you start feeling a bit better.
Private CBT therapy at Vyas-Lee
At The Vyas-Lee Practice, we are an experienced private psychologist and therapist team. We first offer an initial consultation to discuss your concerns and arrange any necessary assessments to determine our treatment plan.
You might choose to come to us for CBT if you want:
- Practical skills for daily life
- To open up space in your life to achieve your goals
- To rediscover your value-set and orient your life towards it
- A collaborative, emotionally engaging and explorative treatment
Get in touch today to arrange an initial consultation.