Cognitive behavioural psychotherapy (CBT) is a form of therapy that helps individuals examine their thought processes and responses to situations with a view to considering alternative more helpful interpretations.
Often our response to events is automatic and based more upon past experience than an appraisal of the situation on hand. Sometimes this can be helpful; we all know ‘glass half full’ types and sometimes not.
For example we believe that people who are prone to depression are more likely to interpret events in a way that has unhelpful implications for their view of themselves and others. This is particularly true when they are experiencing a bout of depression. Thus for example a depressed person is more likely to take a rejection from a job application personally, focus upon their (often exaggerated in their minds) inadequacies and the futility of applying for more jobs. Such interpretations are likely to further lower their mood and lead to less likelihood of further applications and thus make their beliefs, e.g. “I will never find a job”, self-fulfilling.
A cognitive behavioural therapist will work with an individual to open up their mind to a wealth of possible interpretations and perhaps more importantly, where there is ambiguity as there is with many situations, to respond in ways that are likely to achieve the outcome they want.
CBT has been shown to be effective in treating many mental health problems and disorders including depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, panic and phobias. If you feel that you are suffering with a mental health disorder the first port of call should be your GP, who will be able to provide a diagnosis and may be able to organise CBT through the NHS as well as any other treatment (e.g. medication) that might be helpful. However, should you wish to be seen privately, perhaps for reasons of flexibility, then a psychologist working privately may be a better option for you. In many instances where people have private healthcare they may find that this includes cover for psychotherapy from an HPC registered psychologist.
You can also read more about CBT on the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies website
And to download the BABCP leaflet on CBT, just click here
And there is also a nice explanation about CBT on the Royal College of Psychiatrists website here.