Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a short-term approach to therapy that works with a wide range of mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety and self-esteem. It focuses on thinking and behaviour observed in current experience and immediate past.
According to CBT theory, our thoughts affect how we feel and act. Because we judge reality based on thoughts we formulate inside our subjective minds, our cognition (thinking) has immense power over our moods. Two people may feel differently about the prospect of riding a roller coaster. The one who sees it only as hazardous may feel anxious and refuse to try it. His friend may perceive its fear factor as fun and run towards it with great disposition and excitement. Each choice is based on personal meaning and does not necessarily correspond to objective reality (the actual condition of this particular roller coaster).
During CBT sessions, your thoughts are targeted objectively. One of the main roles of a CBT therapist is to help you challenge negative ways of interpreting reality. Maladaptive thinking is replaced by a healthier and more productive outlook. You learn problem-solving skills that help you gain greater control over your moods. No matter how long you stay in therapy, these skills remain yours for life. The ultimate aim of a CBT therapist is to foster your independence from therapy.
What to expect from a CBT session
In your first CBT session, you and your therapist will get to know each other and form a plan for therapy. You will decide how often you will come to therapy and get a rough estimate on its total length. Your therapist will introduce you to some CBT basics and clarify whatever doubts you may have about the whole process.
The subsequent sessions may include:
- checking on your mood and how you have been doing in the past week
- deciding on what to prioritise in the current session
- reviewing homework assignments, so that a critical evaluation of learning can take place
- identifying, challenging and restructuring maladaptive thinking patterns and unhealthy core beliefs
- agreeing on homework for the upcoming week
- giving session feedback
What to expect from a CB therapist
A good CB therapist will do her best to create a trusting and confidential therapeutic environment. She will have had formal training in the approach and demonstrate accurate knowledge of CBT theory and practice. She will also behave in a professional and ethical manner, displaying genuine concern and knowledge about your problem.
Cognitive behavioural therapists are known to work collaboratively with their clients. They help their clients develop strategies to better cope with whatever is causing them pain. You will not be mystified by the work of your therapist, but be made fully aware of what works, how and why.
Is CBT for me?
CBT is a simple yet powerful therapeutic approach that appeals to both men and women in varying age groups, or from different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Here is why:
- It is no hocus-pocus, it is supported by a clear theoretical framework, the cognitive model, which describes how thoughts influence our perception of reality, as well as our emotions and behaviours
- It has been scientifically proven to produce lasting relief from mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
- It is action-oriented, clients are invited to take active participation in the process of healing through in-depth analysis and restructuring of negative thinking patterns
- It is relatively short-term, lasting typically between 5 and 25 sessions
- It significantly reduces the chances of relapse
Clients who respond well to CBT usually share the following characteristics:
- They have a fair notion of what is troubling them
- They are willing to talk about their thoughts and emotions openly with a therapist
- They are available for having therapy sessions in regular intervals
- They are willing to complete homework assignments between sessions
- They are comfortable with the idea of having therapy in a reasonably short period
If you are interested in having CBT, please contact us to request an appointment.
For more about individual therapy, please click here