Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (or CBT for short) is a talking treatment which is used to treat a wide range of mental health disorders, from depression and anxiety to eating disorders, phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
CBT uses the premise that our thoughts, mood, physical sensations and actions are all interconnected, and that negative thoughts and mood can trap us in a negative vicious cycle. The aim of CBT is to become self-aware of these connections and to break the vicious circle by replacing unhelpful thinking patterns with more realistic ones.
CBT is a practical, present-focused and collaborative treatment which involves the therapist and client working together to identify and develop an understanding of the clients difficulties in terms of the relationships between thoughts, feelings and behaviour. From this the therapist and client share in the development of time-limited treatment goals, and strategies to change the way the client thinks and behaves.
CBT is a brief treatment and, depending on the type of problem, the client will usually be offered between 6 and 12 sessions of 60 minutes each, with the possibility of follow up sessions as the client improves and the need for support tails off.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) provides independent, evidence-based guidance to the NHS and recommends CBT in the treatment of the following conditions:
There is also good evidence that CBT is helpful in treating many other conditions, including: