Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

What is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy?

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy also known as CBT is an extensively used talk therapy.  Research consistently demonstrates the effectiveness of CBT in treating a wide range of mental health issues including depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, OCD and more.  CBT is based on the concept that how we think (cognition), how we feel (emotion) and how we act (behaviour) are all interrelated.  Recognising this interrelation allows individuals to understand how their own cognitive processes influence their emotions and behaviours.

Ref: Psychology Tools

CBT is based on the principle that what we think and do has a powerful influence on how we feel.  Often unhelpful and inaccurate thinking can contribute to psychological problems. CBT recognises that by changing negative, unhelpful thought patterns and behaviours, individuals can improve their overall mental health and emotional well-being.

A CBT therapist, using various techniques such as cognitive restructuring, behavioural experiments, thought records, will encourage individuals to identify, evaluate and weigh up evidence around faulty belief systems and dysfunctional thinking and learn to monitor and evaluate their own thought processes and maladaptive behaviours.

Maladaptive behaviours are actions that are problematic, harmful and often hinder personal growth contributing to psychological distress.  Examples of maladaptive behaviours include avoidance, procrastination, self-destructive habits, substance abuse, compulsive behaviours.  Modifying maladaptive behaviours is a key focus to promoting healthier coping strategies and improving overall mental wellness.

CBT highlights the importance of how we interpret events rather than the events themselves, meaning two individuals can have different reactions to the same event based on their interpretations and perceptions.  CBT helps individuals learn to recognise their automatic negative thoughts (NAT’s), core beliefs and cognitive distortions (errors in logic), which may often be contributing factors of faulty perceptions.

Core beliefs are basic beliefs we have about ourselves, other people, and the world we live in. A core belief is something you accept as true without question and has a direct impact on the way we perceive and interpret the world around us.  Core beliefs colour our judgments of others and also our self-judgments. Negative core beliefs can have a huge effect on our self-acceptance, self-worth, and self-esteem.  CBT helps individuals to identify their core beliefs and begin to understand the impact and influence core beliefs have on thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

Through collaboration CBT aims to help individuals develop healthy coping strategies and skills to manage their thoughts and behaviours more effectively. Homework and self-practice are a central feature of CBT, sometimes incorporating the use of CBT worksheets. This approach empowers individuals to take an active role in addressing their mental health concerns and fostering positive changes in their lives.  CBT is typically short-term and goal oriented making it efficient for addressing specific issues within a set timeframe.









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