Clinical Psychology Department

Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy

Introduction

Cognitive behavioural psychotherapy (CBT) is a form of therapy, which focuses on how we think and evaluate ourselves and others, as well as the situations we find ourselves in.

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In addition to this, it looks at how learned ways of behaving and coping with distress may also be affecting us.

What happens in CBT?

CBT involves working with a patient / client to break down problems into manageable parts and to figure out, while working together, a plan of how to best break the vicious circles that keep emotional distress going.

The work will involve mainly focusing on ways of identifying and changing negative thinking and identifying and changing behaviours that are unhelpful. For example, your therapists will be interested in how you can make skilful, adaptive and positive behaviours more likely to occur, and problem behaviours less likely to occur. Sometimes these patterns of thinking or behaving have been around for a long time.

In CBT the patient / client is asked to do tasks at home that allow them to practice the new things they are learning. This may involve keeping a record of how they feel, what they think and what they do. At each meeting the therapist and patient / client discuss how things are progressing and obstacles that are in the way of progress since the last appointment.

Here is an example of how a CBT therapist might look at a problem. It is called a “vicious circle” as your thoughts and behavours interact to reinforce each other. Overtime this could lead to significant psychological distress. From a CBT perspective people who are depressed or anxious or who have other psychological problems usually have a tendency to see the worst in situations – i.e. they tend to think negatively more often than other people.

CBT is mostly offered on an individual basis, although small confidential groups working on a common theme (e.g. managing anxiety) may also be offered. When attending CBT it is important that you are prepared to work with the therapist to reach new ways of thinking and to look at ways to change how you feel.

Psychological treatment options :

1. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
2. Systemic Family Therapy
3. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
4. Integrative Psychotherapy