Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a short term, evidence based form of talking therapy. CBT Therapy is a treatment for adults experiencing depression, anxiety and many physical health problems.
CBT is a type of talking therapy initially developed by Professor Aaron Beck in the 1960s to help people experiencing depression. It has since been adapted for use with most anxiety disorders, sleeping problems and physical health problems.
CBT works on the premise that the way you think affects the way you feel and what you do. Our thoughts, behaviours, emotions and physical sensations are all connected, as shown in the diagram on the right.
Changing one area will lead to a change in the other areas. As a CBT Therapist I will help you understand how these connections work for you, then help you make small changes to your thoughts and behaviours, which in turn will affect your emotions.
A key aim of treatment in CBT is to teach you to become your own therapist. We will plan tasks for you to do between the sessions such as writing down your thoughts, testing your predictions and working towards your goals. If you had decided to train for a marathon you would not expect to only have to go to the gym once week. CBT is similar in that you are training your brain to think differently. Expect to be doing something in relation to your therapy most days a week.
Here and Now
CBT is different from some traditional forms of talking therapies in a few ways. One difference is the focus, especially initially on the here and now, to see what is keeping your problems going. While we will talk about the past, this will be used to understand how it is influencing on the here and now.
Your first session usually involves a chance for us to discuss your current difficulties and your expectations for treatment. I may also ask you to complete some questionnaires to help us measure the symptoms you are experiencing.
Together we will use this information to develop a formulation. This is a shared understanding of where your problems started and most importantly what keeps the problems going. Then we will use this formulation and your goals as a road map, to accurately plan interventions and tailor treatment to you as an individual.
In each appointment we will discuss steps you can take to feel better mainly by changing the thoughts and behaviours that keep your problems going. In your final sessions we will develop a plan so you can continue to maintain the benefits of therapy.
Self help books and online resources can be used in the treatment of depression and anxiety. Research show this works best when supported by a professional. There are many self help books available.