Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. It is most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for other mental and physical health problems.

CBT is based on the idea that the way we think about situations can affect the way we feel and behave. The belief is that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and actions are interconnected, and that negativity in thought and emotion can trap you in a vicious cycle. Unlike Person-Centred counselling, CBT focuses mainly on your current problems. It is concerned with how you think and act now, instead of looking at and getting help with difficulties in your past.

If you choose to engage in CBT we will work together to identify and challenge any negative thinking patterns and behaviour you may have that are causing you difficulties. Through our exploration and your increasing self-awareness we can change the way you feel, and enable you to change your behaviour in the present and sustain that change for the future. CBT cannot remove your problems, but it can help you deal with them in a more positive way. It looks for practical ways to improve your state of mind on a daily basis.

Research evidence reviewed by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) shows that CBT works effectively in treating depression and anxiety. NICE provides independent, evidence-based guidance for the NHS on the most effective ways to treat disease and ill health and recommends CBT in the treatment of the following conditions:

  • anxiety disorders (including panic attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • depression
  • obsessive compulsive disorder
  • schizophrenia and psychosis
  • bipolar disorder

There is also good evidence that CBT is helpful in treating many other conditions, including:

  • chronic fatigue
  • behavioural difficulties in children
  • anxiety disorders in children
  • chronic pain
  • physical symptoms without a medical diagnosis
  • sleep difficulties
  • anger management

The number of CBT sessions you will need depends on the issue that you need help with. Often the number of sessions will fall between five and 20. These sessions are normally weekly and will be 50 minutes each. At your first session we will discuss your specific difficulties and together negotiate goals for you to achieve. We will then go on to break down your problems into their separate parts – such as your thoughts, physical experiences, emotions, and behavioural actions.

CBT involves hard work during and between sessions. I don’t tell you what to do or offer advice. The therapy is designed to help you decide what difficulties you want to work on and facilitate change to improve your situation. By the end of our sessions together you will have a toolkit of CBT techniques and resources to continue using in your daily life.

Before deciding to have CBT, it might be helpful to think about the following:

  • Is short-term therapy right for me? If you have complex problems short-term therapy like CBT is less helpful. If this is the case have a look at the Person-Centred Counselling that I offer.
  • Am I comfortable thinking about my feelings? CBT encourages you to become aware of your anxieties and your emotions. Some people can find this uncomfortable or distressing.
  • How much time can I commit? CBT involves exercises that you complete outside of your sessions with me. This will mean a time commitment needs to be made to complete the necessary work over the course of our sessions, and also a commitment to continue to practice your new techniques afterwards, to maintain the change.
  • Do I have a clear problem to solve? If you don’t feel that you have particularly troubling symptoms or a specific aspect of your life you want to work on, CBT may be less helpful.  If you are feeling generally unhappy, unfulfilled, or demotivated the Person-Centred counselling that I offer may be more appropriate.

For CBT Cardiff services, contact us today.

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