Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy. It looks to help you manage problems by enabling you to recognise how your thoughts can affect your feelings and behaviour. CBT combines a cognitive approach (examining your thoughts) with a behavioural approach (the things you do). It aims to break overwhelming problems down into smaller parts, making them easier to manage.
The idea behind CBT is that our thoughts and behaviours will influence each other, and by changing the way we think or behave in a situation, we can change the way we feel about life. The therapy examines learnt behaviours, habits and negative thought patterns with the view of adapting and turning them into a positive.
CBT is rooted in the here and now and looks to the future. While past events and experiences are considered during the sessions, the focus is more on your current concerns and issues.
CBT can be used to help you overcome anxiety issues, panic, stress and addiction and looks at how both cognitive and behavioural processes affect one another and aims to help you get out of negative cycles. The emphasis on behavioural or cognitive approaches will depend on the issue you are facing.
During a CBT session, I will help you understand any negative thought patterns you have. You will learn how they affect you and most importantly, what can be done to change them. The therapy is very active by nature, so you will be expected to take a proactive role within your treatment, which will include completing tasks at home.
You will take an active involvement in the therapy and have a voice when it comes to future progression. The issues you discuss with me will be in confidence and without judgement to help you gain a new perspective. As your therapy progresses, you will take a more prominent role in the sessions. You will start to decide on the content and structure of the session and the idea is that once your treatment is over, you should feel confident and comfortable enough to continue the work on your own.
The course of CBT can be anywhere from six weeks to six months, depending on your individual circumstance. Usually you will attend one session a week, with each session lasting between 50 minutes to an hour. A free, initial consultation can be arranged so you can meet me and discuss why you are seeking treatment. Here you will have the opportunity to talk with me, outline what you hope to gain from CBT and set goals for the future.