What is CBT Therapy?
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a form of therapy that involves talking to help you manage your issues by altering the way you behave and think. It is based on the psychological theory that your actions, feelings, physical sensations, and thoughts are all connected and negative feelings/ thoughts can leave you trapped in a never ending vicious cycle.
CBT is designed to help you handle overwhelming issues by breaking them down into more manageable parts. Then, you learn how to alter these negativities to improve the way you feel. The overall goal of therapy is to teach you how to apply the changes you learn during your treatment into your daily life.
Unlike some forms of therapy, CBT focuses only on your current issues and looks for realistic ways to enhance your state of mind daily. It does not involve problems from your past. Be aware that some critics argue that because CBT focuses solely on current problems, it doesn’t address any potential underlying causes of mental health issues, such as an abusive childhood.
While it is frequently used to help with depression and anxiety, it can be helpful for other mental and physical health conditions. For example, it may help people struggling with:
- Eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Various phobias
- Panic disorders
- Post Traumantic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Problems related to excessive alcohol use
- Sleep disturbances, including insomnia
- Long-term health problems, such as chronic Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Be aware that CBT cannot cure physical health conditions, but it can help people handle their physical symptoms better.
If a therapist recommends CBT, you will likely have a 30-60 minute session either once a week or once every other week. Typically, you will attend between five and twenty sessions.
During your session, you and your therapist will work to break down your issues into separate components, such as actions, physical feelings, and thoughts. You and your therapist will analyse these components to determine if they are unhealthy or unrealistic, as well as evaluate the effect they have on each other and you. Then, your therapist will work with to decide how best to change these unhealthy behaviours and thoughts. After determining what you can change, your therapist will ask you to practise these changes in your daily life. At your next session, you’ll discuss how to continue.
The skills you learn during CBT should help you manage your problems and put an end to the negative impact they are having on your life, even after you have completed therapy. In some cases, CBT can be as effective as medication in treating certain mental health conditions, but this isn’t always the case.
Advantages of Cognitive Therapy
In situations where medication alone doesn’t work, it can be beneficial.
When compared to other forms of therapy, it can be completed in a pretty short period of time.
CBT teaches you practical and useful strategies that can be used throughout the course of your life.
Due to its highly structured nature, CBT can be provided in a variety of formats, including computer programs, groups, and self-help books.
There are also disadvantages to CBT that you should consider, including:
- Attending regular sessions and performing any extra work in between sessions can be time-consuming.
Because it requires structured sessions, it may not work for people with learning disabilities or complex mental health conditions.
- You must be committed to the process in order to get the most out of it. For a therapist to help you, you must be cooperative.
- CBT concentrates on a person’s ability to change themselves, including their behaviours, feelings, and thoughts. Unfortunately, this doesn’t address any larger problems from the past that could significantly affect your health and well-being.
If you believe that you could benefit from CBT, you should first speak with your GP. He or she may be able to refer you for CBT that will be free on the NHS. However, there may be a wait. If you can afford to pay for CBT privately, you may want to do so in order to begin treatment sooner.