Jo Pioro, Dr. Gillian Rayner, Dan Bennett,  
Dave Healey & Leigh Alexander
 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

 

What is cognitive behaviour therapy?

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is a specific form of Psychological Therapy that can focuses on current problems but can also include experiences from childhood that influence the present day. The therapy is structured and works towards agreed goals. These goals can be changes in behaviour that you want to achieve and changes to how you think or make sense of things.  So for example a person who has panic attacks that prevent them from going to work might set the goal of returning to work, and the therapy would work towards that specific target. In a course of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy you will learn to understand why your problems have persisted, and experiment with different ways of thinking and behaving to try to undo these unhelpful patterns.

CBT is based upon the notion of collaborative working which means that you and your therapist will work together and explore presenting problems and be curious about alternative explanations and interventions which could be applied in therapy. Both client and therapist have an equal part to play in CBT Therapy and often you will be required to engage in behavioural experiments or task assignments, which will be agreed between you and your therapist in between sessions. Deciding what is appropriate will be based upon what you feel is realistic for you to achieve at the time of therapy, and what would be most helpful. This could include things like collecting data, which challenges a certain belief, trying to behave differently in a stressful situation or testing out new ways of coping to see if they are effective.
 

Does cognitive behaviour therapy work?

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is generally the most effective treatment for the problems mentioned above and is recommended by NICE http://www.nice.org.uk (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) as the psychological treatment of choice for depression and all anxiety disorders. It is also beneficial and helpful for other mental health, substance use, behavioural and physical health problems, for further information on NICE guidance look on the website and talk to your individual psychotherapist to see if CBT could help you with your particular issue.
 

How many sessions of therapy will I need?

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy can be an effective form of psychotherapy for most problems in between 6 and 20 weekly sessions, however some people need longer term CBT. The number of sessions depends on the complexity of the problems you are experiencing, and how well you are able to work through your homework tasks, but your therapist will be able to give you an estimate of the likely number of sessions needed at the start of your course of therapy.


Could my problems be too complicated for cognitive behaviour therapy to help?

For many people with the kinds of problems listed above a course of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy can be of help. For some people who have more complicated problems that involve more than one problem area, hearing voices, self harm, or persistent suicidal thoughts, your needs may be better served by a different kind of service that includes more support than Skype or email therapy can provide. However, some of our psychotherapists specialise in these areas and after taking an assessment of your needs including risks and keeping you safe they may decide to work with you. If we feel you need a different kind of service your psychotherapist will have a detailed conversation with you about what might be the most helpful way forward.
 

Is CBT for me?

CBT also requires clients to be able to be motivated, discuss current problems and access their cognitions (thoughts about the presenting problem). Your therapist will be able to support you in doing this. CBT also focuses upon the current issues rather than historical problems and therapy will require you to discuss these issues openly with your therapist. Some people however find it useful to discuss historical influences to help them understand their presenting problem, however this is not always the case. You and your therapist will need to discuss whether this is helpful/appropriate for you in therapy.  Whilst CBT is based upon the principle that our thoughts, emotions, physiology, behaviour and environment all interact with each other, you will be required to work alongside your therapist to make links between these interacting systems which will help you and your therapist apply interventions based upon current research and evidence based practice.
 


 
 
                   
                                                                                                                   

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