It's most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for other mental health conditions.
CBT is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle.
CBT aims to help you deal with overwhelming problems in a more positive way by breaking them down into smaller parts. Together we work on alternatives to these negative patterns to improve the way that you feel.
Uses for CBT
CBT has been shown to be an effective way of treating a number of different mental health conditions.
In addition to depression or anxiety disorders, CBT can also help people
If you decide CBT is for you, you'll usually have a session with a therapist once a week or once every two weeks. The course of treatment usually lasts for between 5 and 20 sessions, with each session lasting 50-60 minutes.
During the sessions, you'll work with your therapist to break down your problems into their separate parts – such as your thoughts, physical feelings and actions.
You and your therapist will analyse these areas to work out if they're unrealistic or unhelpful and to determine the effect they have on each other and on you. Your therapist will then be able to help you work out how to change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours.
After working out what you can change, your therapist will ask you to practise these changes in your daily life and you'll discuss how you got on during the next session.
The eventual aim of therapy is to teach you to apply the skills you've learnt during treatment to your daily life.
This should help you manage your problems and stop them having a negative impact on your life – even after your course of treatment finishes.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be as effective as medication in treating some mental health problems, but it may not be successful or suitable for everyone.
Some of the advantages of CBT include:
Some of the disadvantages of CBT to consider include:
If you think you have a problem that may benefit from treatment with CBT, you may wish, as a first step, to speak to your GP, as he
may be able to refer you for CBT that's free on the NHS although you may have to wait.