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What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
The therapy assumes that it is not our life situations that shape our well-
Each of us actively creates our own interpretation of situations we encounter and what meaning we give to our thoughts based on learnt behaviour.
CBT is focused on changing the way we see ourselves, the world and other people and the way in which our behaviour is affected by our thoughts and feelings. Accordingly therapy works to change our perception and behaviour thus improving our over all well-
What does CBT Therapy actually involve?
The therapy itself is based on building a close co-
What problems are treated Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?
Although initially this therapy was designed for the treatment of depression, it is currently successfully used in the treatment of other disorders:
How effective is cognitive behavioural therapy?
The efficacy of this therapy in the treatment of various emotional problems, has been confirmed in numerous clinical trials. It is the most effective psychological treatment for the treatment of mild or medium depression.
In the long-
How does Cognitive Behavioural Therapy work?
For most life situations we react either positively or negatively depending on what we think about what is actually occurring. Let's try to explain this in the following example:
A colleague has told you that at the next work meeting a survey will be carried out into how much you know about your company and the way it actually operates.
I love surveys…I know I do my company well…it'll be fun!
I feel happy, I'm relaxed.
You learn a little more about recent events in the company.
The physiological responses:
promotes an overall feeling of well-
A negative thought:
I know nothing about my company, I’ll be mocked.
You feel worried, depressed and anxious.
you feel worried, depressed, sad and anxious.
You read up more on company workings for hours but can’t concentrate so remember little.
The physiological responses:
Stomach cramps, lack of energy, nausea.
The above example illustrates just how different the course of our thinking used in exactly the same situation, provoked different reactions. This confirms that our thoughts affect our feelings and behaviour, our interpretation of events taking place in our lives is how we perceive our world and as such brings us to the pleasant or unpleasant sensations and behaviours.
Take a look at five of the following components:
Each of these elements has an effect on the other, and is a part of a "vicious circle". Our thoughts related to our problem affect how we feel both physically and emotionally -
Negative thinking creates a negative "vicious circle", worsens our mood and often leads to the formation of new negative situations that will further deepen and strengthen our unhelpful belief system…that we are not able to solve our problems.
When we are depressed it is easier to see the world through a "black eye" and draw hasty conclusions.
Thoughts that guide our actions are called ‘automatic’ because they occur quickly and involuntarily. Our initial thoughts are only the outer layer of our entire thought process, deeper layers are formed so deep beliefs (core beliefs), become rooted beliefs -
Deep beliefs are built from our experiences, memories and knowledge. They are formed from the moment we are born; from interacting with our family and with people from our immediate environment: be it a neighbour, priest, teacher, colleagues…they all shape and effect how we see ourselves, others and the world around us.
If for example you come from a so-
From that moment onwards we think about ourselves as ‘misfits’ or ‘losers’ with little self-
Our inner ‘core beliefs’ shape our views about ourselves, others and the entire world. They become like "contact lenses" through which we perceive reality and affect how we interpret it. If our "contact lenses", our own beliefs, way of thinking are the cause of our problems, it is wise to replace them with those that are more helpful. It is true that each of us in a specific way perceives, understands and interprets what is happening in our life in our own particular way. This is how we evaluate our life situations, affects the emotions we experience, and consequently our behaviour.
What does a Session involve?
During each stage of our therapy we decide about what we want and need to focus on and how fast to move.
This is assessed and discussed at the start of each following meeting. The therapist does not do anything and does not take any action without expressed consent.
During a session we disseminate any major issue into smaller parts in a similar manner in which it was demonstrated in the example given above. Then, together analyse each problem / situation, thought, feelings and behaviour in order to determine whether they are reasonable and helpful, or irrational and undesirable.
During the next stage of treatment we move on to try to understand how best to change unwanted thoughts and behaviour with positive ones. This involves the gradual replacement of our old beliefs and the introduction of new ways of thinking that will serve us better.
During each session, we will discuss our progress and changes that we have introduced into our lives since the last meeting. If it turns out that some of the tasks are too over bearing or difficult, or not having the desired effect, we will agree on other arrangements.
Emotional disorder is a very unpleasant experience, which seriously hamper our lives and our ability to enjoy it. Cognitive-
Useful web links
British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapists (BABCP)
Beating the Blues ( "Defeat depression")
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Teach Yourself: Relationships & Self-
Overcoming Depression: A self-
The Complete Guide to Overcoming Depression by Paul Gilbert (17 Jan 2013) (Complete help defeat depression)
Overcoming Worry. A self-
(Overcoming worries. Guide how to use cognitive-
Among the other titles in the series of self-
Online resources available on CBT
MoodGym ( "fitness for mood") -
Living Life to the Full ( "live life to the fullest") -
Fear Fighter ( "conqueror of fear ') -
An induction is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Skills and Applications (2007). D.Westbrook, H.Kennerley and J.Krik London: Sage (Introduction to cognitive-
Overcoming Worry. A self-
NICE (2004). CG9 Eating disorders: Core Interventions in the treatment and management of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and related eating disorders (eating disorders: major interventions in the treatment of anorexia nervosa, bulimia and related eating disorders) -
NICE (2004). Anxiety: management of anxiety (panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, and generalized anxiety disorder) in adults in primary, secondary and community care (Fear: clinical management in the treatment of anxiety [panic, coupled with agoraphobia or without, and anxiety ] in adults in primary, secondary and out-
NICE (2004) Depression: management of depression in primary and secondary care (Depression: the treatment of depression in primary and specialized care). NICE Guideline December 2004.
Organizations that can provide further information:
This article was prepared by Barbara Paczkowska, MSc., CBT Psychologist and Therapist -
If you feel lost and can not find the right way forward...… Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help you find your way out of a difficult situation.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in Practice