What is CBT?
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that explores how our thoughts and behaviour have an effect on our mental health. The way we think affects the way we act and vice versa. When this leads to negative cycles of thinking and behaving, it often manifests itself in the forms of anxiety and/or depression.
The focus of CBT is on changing these cycles in the here and now, whilst also taking account of any past experiences that may have shaped and influenced the way we react to situations today.
I work with people to make changes in these patterns of thinking and behaving. Therapy is collaborative, working together with you in order to facilitate your own exploration and to empower you with the skills and knowledge to eventually become your own therapist. A strength of CBT is that it allows clients to learn ways of managing their problems, and these skills can be practiced and developed after therapy has ended.
CBT has been proven to be effective in the treatment of a number of mental health disorders and can help with coping with physical conditions too. (See ‘What can CBT help with?’) CBT is recommended by The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), which provides independent advice to the NHS on what effective treatments can be used to treat physical and mental health problems, and this advice is based on empirical evidence-based research. It is one of the most effective treatments for conditions where the main problem is anxiety or depression, and can be used as a stand alone treatment or in conjunction with medications.
Is CBT for me?
What to expect from therapy
The initial assessment:
The assessment session is a chance for us to:
Explore your current problems
Discuss if CBT may be suitable
Initialise a treatment plan
I will ask questions about what is troubling you in the here and now but also about your background and past experiences in order to gain an overall understanding of your problem.
Assessment sessions are also an opportunity to ask any questions that are concerning you about how the therapy works. Moreover you can gauge how comfortable you feel with me as a therapist, which is vital for us to work effectively and collaboratively together.
The treatment sessions:
The client and therapist work together, where I can provide the technical and theoretical framework but the client is the expert on his or her life. As a therapist I:
Facilitate your own personal discovery.
Introduce ways of making therapeutic change.
Work with you to feel confident in managing your problems by the end of therapy.
An average course of treatment consists of 12-20 sessions which are weekly appointments lasting 50 minutes. Some patients need less and some need more longer-term input. The numbers of sessions needed are regularly reviewed during therapy.
Clients take an active part both in sessions and outside of them. Tasks are often set between sessions to practice therapeutic interventions and to be able to reflect of them in session.
Clients often request to have sporadic refresher sessions after treatment has ended to review the work if needed and to keep up with the methods they have learned.