CBT Treatment

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Treatment

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) aims to help you change the way you think, feel and behave. The treatment is for adults, children and the elderly to treat various mental health and physical problems.



Cognitive TherapyOur cognitive processes are our thoughts which include our ideas, mental images, beliefs and attitudes. Cognitive therapy is based on the principle that certain ways of thinking can trigger, or fuel, certain health problems. For example, anxiety, depression, phobias, etc, but there are others, including physical problems. The therapist helps you to understand your current thought patterns. In particular, to identify any harmful, unhelpful, and false ideas or thoughts which you have that can trigger your health problem, or make it worse. The aim is then to change your ways of thinking to avoid these ideas. Also, to help your thought patterns to be more realistic and helpful.

Behavioural TherapyThis aims to change any behaviours that are harmful or not helpful. Various techniques are used. For example, a common unhelpful behaviour is to avoid situations that can make you anxious. In some people with phobias the avoidance can become extreme and affect day-to-day life. In this situation a type of behavioural therapy called exposure therapy may be used. This is where you are gradually exposed more and more to feared situations. The therapist teaches you how to control anxiety and to cope when you face up to the feared situations. For example, by using deep breathing and other techniques.

CBTThis is a mixture of cognitive and behavioural therapies. They are often combined because how we behave often reflects how we think about certain things or situations. The emphasis on cognitive or behavioural aspects of therapy can vary, depending on the condition being treated. For example, there is often more emphasis on behavioural therapy when treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) – where repetitive compulsive actions are a main problem. In contrast, the emphasis may be on cognitive therapy when treating depression.

What disorders are suitable for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

CBT Therapy is a type of psychotherapeutic treatment used to treat a wide range
of disorders including:

  • Addiction
  • Anger management
  • Anxiety & stress
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia
  • Infertility
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic attacks
  • Phobias
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Self-esteem
  • Sleep problems, such as insomnia
  • The onset of a serious illness
    CBT can also help with the following:

  • Bereavement & trauma
  • Child and adolescent behavioural problems
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME)
  • Chronic (persistent) pain.
  • Domestic violence
  • Drug and alcohol misuse problems
  • Habits (such as facial tics)
  • Loneliness
  • Mental health conditions, illness & disability in the family
  • Redundancy
  • Relationship issues
  • Self-harm
  • Separation, divorce & step-family life
  • Sexual problems

“As a rule, the more specific the problem, the more likely CBT may help. This is because it is a practical therapy which focuses on particular problems and aims to overcome them. CBT is sometimes used alone, and sometimes used in addition to medication, depending on the type and severity of the condition being treated.”


Female Infertility: “There is evidence that stress may negatively impact fertility in women. And if there was a chance to increase your chances to conceive even by 1%, would it be worth getting a better understanding of how stress and infertility may affect each other and then learn how to control the agony?”

What is likely to happen during a course of CBT?

The first session of therapy will usually include time for the therapist and you to develop a shared understanding of the problem. This is usually to identify how your thoughts, ideas, feelings, attitudes, and behaviours affect your day-to-day life. You should then agree a treatment plan and goals to achieve, and the number of required sessions, each session is approximately 45 minutes.


Typically, a session of therapy is once a week and most courses of CBT last for several weeks. It is not uncommon to have 12-18 sessions, but a course of CBT can be longer or shorter, depending on the nature and severity of the condition.


In some situations CBT sessions can be carried out by telephone. You have to take an active part in CBT for example, if you have a social phobia, early in the course of therapy you may be asked to keep a diary of your thoughts which occur when you become anxious before a social event. Therapists also teach important coping skills, such as problem solving and scheduling pleasurable experiences, this may be given as an assignment or experiment which you have learned during therapy.

How well does Cognitive Behavioural Therapy work?

CBT has been shown in clinical trials to help ease symptoms of various health problems. For example, research studies have shown that a course of CBT is just as likely to be effective as medication in treating depression and certain anxiety disorders. There may be long-term benefits with CBT, because the techniques to combat these problems can be used for the rest of your life to eradicate future symptoms. So, for example, depression or anxiety are less likely to recur in the future. There is good research evidence to show that CBT can help to improve symptoms of some physical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

What is the difference between CBT & other talking treatments?

CBT is one type of psychotherapy (talking treatment), unlike other types of psychotherapy it does not involve talking freely, or dwell on events in your past to gain insight into your emotional state of mind. It is not a “lie on the couch and tell all” type of therapy. CBT tends to deal with the here and now – how your current thoughts and behaviours are affecting you now. It recognises that events in your past have shaped the way that you currently think and behave, in particular, thought patterns and behaviours learned in childhood. However, CBT does not dwell on the past, but aims to find solutions to change your current thoughts and behaviours so you can improve now and in the future.


Clients are taught ways to change thoughts and expectations and relaxation techniques are used. It will help the client to identify, question and change poor mental images of themselves, thus altering negative responses and behaviour. It can help pessimistic or depressed people to view things from a more optimistic perspective.


Although the CBT therapist will offer support and empathy, the therapy has a structure, is problem-focused and practical.

What are the limitations of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

CBT does not suit everyone and it is not helpful for all conditions. You need to be committed and persistent in tackling and improving your health problem with the help of the therapist and it can be hard work. The assignments may be difficult and challenging, you may be taken ‘out of your comfort zone’ for example, when tackling situations which cause anxiety or distress. However, many people have greatly benefited from a course of CBT.

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Garry M Barnett