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Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, shortened to CBT, is recognised as evidence based psychotherapy.

It is used in the treatments of depression, anxiety, phobias, post traumatic disorders, panic attacks, chronic fatigue and other mental and behavioural disorders.

Its role is on the importance of:

• How we think;
• How we feel; and
• How we act.

CBT is based on the cognitive model of our emotional response formed by out thoughts that impacts our feelings and behaviour. It is not based on external factors, people or situations. CBT presumes that we can change the way we think, feel and behave.

CBT is result driven; rapid in terms of the number of sessions you need and often time limited. For most conditions you can experience benefits between 8 to 20 sessions. You will need to be realistic with the length of time and number of session you need as it will depend on each individual case. For some people long standing beliefs and thoughts can take time to change.

Its approach is instructive and makes use of assigned homework. The assignments vary depending on the individual and on the particular issue. It can range from keeping a diary, questioning and testing, evaluating beliefs that might be unhelpful or unrealistic. Relaxation techniques are taught as well as gradually experiencing the avoided situation or activities together with learning new ways to think and behave. You can understand your condition and develop new ways to help yourself.

The focus of the treatment is on the current difficulties and not from the past. For CBT to succeed, it very much depends on the client’s commitment as it can sometimes be difficult and requires an active, honest participation.

The relationship between the therapist and client is fundamental to the success of CBT and requires a trusting collaborative effort between the two parties. The therapist helps their clients to achieve their goals through listening, teaching and encouragement. It involves recognising distorted and irrational thinking and replacing with realistic positive thoughts. Allowing a safe space for the client to express their concerns, learn and implement the new skills and ways of reacting.

In addition CBT can also be an effective treatment for:

• Anger management
• Child and adolescent problems
• Chronic pain
• Drug or alcohol problems
• Eating problems
• General health problems
• Habits, such as nail biting, bed wetting, facial tics
• Mood swings
• Obsessive-compulsive disorder
• Sexual and relationship problems
• Sleep difficulties

There are other forms of CBT treatments that include Rational Emotive Therapy (RET). PCT Personal Construct Therapy, Behavioural Therapy and Cognitive Therapy.

CBT is rolled out across the NHS as the preferred method of treatment for many mental health conditions. The good news is that anyone on anti-depressant medication must now be offered therapy by their GP. Employers also have to give their employees time off to attend their choice of treatment. To see an NHS therapist you can expect to wait between 6 weeks to 24 months in some areas, whereas private therapist can often see you within two weeks.

The following organisations hold registered CBT practitioners:

• The British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) –
• UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) –
• The British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) –
There are some computer generated programmes offering CBT and research has shown it may help some people with depression and anxiety through its use.

I trust that the information provided here helps you to understand what CBT is and how it works.

Information supplied by:
Vanessa Emile
Provider of Counselling, Hypnotherapy and NLP Coaching
020 8450 6144

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