What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

An introduction to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) by Declan Fitzpatrick.

Hello, my name is Declan Fitzpatrick, I’m a Psychotherapist and I would like to talk a little bit about cognitive behavioural therapy.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a form of therapy which takes the view that, how we think; our cognition, how we act; our behaviours, how we feel; our emotions, and what is happening in our body; our physiology, all interact strongly together. In particular, CBT takes the view that our thoughts strongly influence our feelings and our behaviours. Specifically CBT tries to identify and address that might be overly negative, unhelpful and unrealistic, as these thoughts might give rise to feelings of distress, including anxiety, feelings of panic depression and anger.

CBT differs to other more traditional type of talking therapies in that it is designed to be an action orientated therapy. Together, the CBT therapist and the client, attempt to identify faulty or maladaptive thoughts and perceptions that the client may have. Once identified, these thoughts can be challenged and adjusted leading to changed emotional response. Many people find this kind of focused therapy useful and it is designed to give the client something to work on, during and between sessions.

CBT is considered a collaborative therapy, in that the client and therapist in a very focused way to try and bring about some change in the clients life. For example, a client that presents with depression may be encouraged to identify any overly distorted thoughts and perceptions that they may be working from. Together, the therapist and the client will try to bring more balance into the clients thinking. The more balanced the client’s thoughts and perspectives are; the less negative the client may feel. Similarly, the client and therapist might work to identify any behaviours that might affecting the way the client is feeling. They may develop some behavioural experiments, in order to help the client reality test some of their unhelpful beliefs.

It is important to stress that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is not just about trying to think positively. Instead, what CBT suggest is that that people examine whatever difficulties and problems they are experiencing, from as many different angles as possible. Clients are encouraged to examine alternatives to their thoughts and beliefs, in order to help them better manage their feelings.

Over the last 30 years or so, CBT has established itself as a main stream therapy. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has been shown to be very effective with issues such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks, low self-esteem, addictions, trauma and anger and stress problems.

Thank you.