Conditions and treatments
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you make sense of overwhelming problems by breaking them down into smaller parts.
In CBT, problems are broken down into five main areas:
CBT is based on the concept of these five areas being interconnected and affecting each other. For example, your thoughts about a certain situation can often affect how you feel both physically and emotionally, as well as how you act in response.
Sessions with your therapist will be for 50 minutes and this is usually on a weekly basis.
CBT is a flexible therapy that can be adapted to meet your particular needs. Evidence suggests it can be an effective treatment for a range of mental health issues, including:
The therapist will ask questions about your life and background.
If you’re anxious or depressed, the therapist will ask whether it interferes with your family, work and social life. They’ll also ask about events that may be related to your problems, treatments you’ve had, and what you would like to achieve through therapy.
You’ll work with your therapist to break down problems into their separate parts. To help with this, your therapist may ask you to keep a diary or write down your thoughts, feelings and behaviour patterns.
You and your therapist will reflect on your thoughts, feelings and behaviours to work out if they’re unrealistic or unhelpful to you and to determine the effect they have on each other and on you. Your therapist will 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. This may involve:
You may be asked to do some “homework” between sessions to help with this process.
At each session, you’ll discuss with your therapist how you’ve got on with putting the changes into practice and what it felt like.
One of the biggest benefits of CBT is that after your therapy has finished, you can continue to apply the principles learned to your daily life. This should make it less likely that your symptoms will return.