Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

20 September, 2011

Cognitive behavioural therapy (or CBT) is a psycho-therapeutic approach that aims to influence negative emotions, behaviours and thought processes through a goal-oriented, systematic procedure.

CBT can be seen as an umbrella term for a number of psychological techniques that share a theoretical basis in behaviouristic learning theory and cognitive psychology.

What conditions is it used for?

Most types of emotional and behavioural conditions can be helped including mood, anxiety, personality, eating, substance abuse, obsession and anger disorders.  It can also help depression by teaching more compassionate self-accepting thinking; that negative thoughts are often symptoms of depression, and not facts, plus CBT can reduce old patterns of negative rumination by focussing on the here and now.

What to expect

Treatment is often brief, and time-limited.  In cognitive-orientated therapies, the objective is typically to identify and monitor thoughts, assumptions, beliefs and behaviours that accompany and are related to negative emotions, and to identify those which are dysfunctional, inaccurate, or unhelpful. The aim is to replace or transcend them with those which are more realistic and useful.