What is CBT?
CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with cognitive meaning thought processes, such as memory and problem solving, and behavioural which focuses on how humans behave and respond to particular things.
CBT works through understanding our thoughts which influence our physiology which then affects our behaviour, for example any negative thoughts that we have may lead to feeling low which causes us to withdraw ourselves. Clients may be already conditioned to repeat a certain behaviour and have an ingrained view on a particular fact or situation.
Throughout CBT sessions, you'll work with your therapist to discuss your thoughts, physical feelings and actions. Over a period of 6-8 weeks, the sessions will hopefully teach the client how to overcome their personal problems and find solutions, using evidence-based techniques and strategies, by challenging the clients irrational thoughts. Constructive and realistic ‘new’ thoughts are put into place to help improve the client’s state of mind.
One of CBTs goal is to stop negative cycles by changing their thought patterns whilst also making sense of overwhelming problems by breaking them down into smaller things that perhaps make you feel bad, anxious or scared. This can be done by assessing the negative thoughts, and then through discussion between the client and therapist, deciding whether these thoughts are unrealistic or perhaps unhelpful.
With the use of CBT the client is able to learn and understand how their physiological reactions and behaviours are linked to their thoughts. CBT mainly deals with current problems, rather than focusing on issues from the past, however it may involve looking briefly at the past to see if any problems may be influencing the present day beliefs and behaviours. Hopefully this then gives a slightly more flexible outlook on life and builds up confidence for everyday living.
After working out these positive changes and how to create new thinking patterns, the therapist will ask the client to practise these techniques, in between sessions, in real life situations and then discuss how they got on with their homework and if anything could be improved!
The aim of CBT is to teach clients to apply the skills they have learnt during the therapy sessions and get to a point where they can tackle problems without the help of a therapist!