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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?

CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. It is a widely practised form of psychotherapy or talk therapy that focuses on helping individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviours. CBT is based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are interconnected, and by changing our thoughts and behaviours, we can effectively manage and improve our emotional well-being.

Key principles of CBT include:

  • Identification of Negative Thought Patterns: In CBT, individuals work with a therapist to identify automatic negative thoughts or cognitive distortions that contribute to their emotional distress. These thoughts often involve unrealistic or irrational beliefs.

  • Challenging and Restructuring Thoughts: Once negative thought patterns are identified, CBT helps individuals challenge and reframe these thoughts in a more rational and balanced way. This can lead to more positive and realistic thinking.

  • Behavioural Strategies: CBT also emphasizes changing behaviours that contribute to emotional distress. It encourages individuals to engage in activities that promote emotional well-being and to develop coping strategies to deal with difficult situations.

  • Goal-Oriented: CBT is typically a short-term, goal-oriented therapy. Individuals and therapists work together to set specific, measurable, and achievable goals for treatment.

  • Empirical Basis: CBT is known for its strong empirical support and is widely used for the treatment of various mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more.

  • Homework and Skill Building: Often, CBT involves homework assignments between therapy sessions. These assignments may include keeping thought records, practising relaxation techniques, or gradually exposing oneself to anxiety-provoking situations.

CBT is considered an evidence-based treatment because it has been extensively researched and shown to be effective for many individuals. It is often used alone or in combination with other therapeutic approaches and may be delivered in individual therapy, group therapy, or even through self-help resources.
It’s important to note that CBT is just one approach among many in the field of psychotherapy, and the choice of therapy should be based on an individual’s specific needs and preferences.