Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy which combines cognitive and behavioural therapies. CBT regards our thoughts (cognitions), our behaviour and our mood as intricately linked. Understanding how our thoughts, behaviour, mood and physiology impact one another is an important part of the work in CBT.
CBT aims to address the thoughts and behaviours which directly or indirectly trigger or maintain certain moods. CBT will encourage the individual to evaluate the accuracy of their thoughts, challenging the inaccuracies and formulating a more balanced way of thinking about a situation.
How effective is CBT?
CBT is one of the most effective treatments available for conditions where anxiety or depression is the main problem. It has been found to be as effective as antidepressants in the treatment of depression, and has lower rates of relapse than treatment relying solely on medication. CBT is strongly evidence-based, with many trials conducted to help formulate the most effective treatment protocols.
CBT is recommended by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) for the treatment of depression and generalised anxiety disorder and has been shown to have a high success rate with a range of mental health issues, including eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, phobias, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, relationship problems and drug and alcohol abuse.
CBT is also used to help people with chronic health conditions such as arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Although it cannot cure these conditions, it can help an individual manage any associated pain and reduce any stress or anxiety that may exacerbate the physical symptoms
How many sessions will I need?
Your initial consultation at The Psychology Clinic will be an assessment in which you can detail the issues that have prompted you to seek therapy. The number of sessions will vary greatly according to the complexity of the presenting issue, but will typically range between 14-20 sessions. For complex issues where broader psychological therapy is required, more sessions may be required.
What will happen in a typical session?
Each session will be quite structured, generally beginning with a review of any homework from the previous session before moving on to new material that is appropriate to the stage of therapy. This may be exploring the thoughts associated with a particular issue, understanding how these thoughts impact on how you feel about the situation and how you subsequently respond to it. There may also be exercises designed to adjust the way you respond to certain thoughts.
Therapy can be a little like piecing a jigsaw together. Over time you will understand the factors that have contributed to the difficulties you are experiencing, building awareness of how these factors interact to maintain and exacerbate the issue. Although this awareness is undoubtedly helpful, it is unlikely to fully address the issue, so in addition to identifying the pieces of the jigsaw and seeing how they fit together, you will gradually learn how to adjust the unhelpful thoughts and behaviours and learn techniques to diffuse from these thoughts so that they become less distressing.
"Having experienced a combination of depression and anxiety, I was referred to Dr Collins by my psychiatrist for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. I was initially sceptical that CBT would be of help to me, but quickly realised that the therapy was exactly what I needed...Dr Collins is approachable, trustworthy and very easy to work with and her therapy is very well structured and easy to comprehend. Now, a couple of months down the line, I am back to my normal self, with an optimistic outlook and untroubled by the irrational anxiety which was ruling my life. I can unreservedly recommend Dr Collins and her skills in CBT."
Client suffering from stress induced depressive illness.