What Is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?
CBT is a form of therapy that examines how our thinking, attitudes, beliefs and opinions are formed; how they affect our success, our lives and feelings and how changing them impacts on our performance . The idea stems from both ancient and modern thinking in philosophy, science, psychology and humanity. It is based on the idea that unproductive modes of thinking and behaviour that have been learnt over a period of time can be identified and then modified so the client learns more appropriate and positive responses.
How Does It work?
The success of CBT depends very much on the client’s participation in assignments devised by the therapist to take place outside the therapy room. These assignments can be anything that throws a light on the ‘cognitions’ or help to adjust behaviour. Often they involve specific tasks which allow the client to gradually expose themselves to certain situations. Other common CBT techniques include challenging irrational beliefs, replacing them with alternative ones, thought stopping exercises, assertiveness training, social skills training and relaxation techniques.
How Can It Help Me?
CBT encourages a client to challenge beliefs that no longer serve them and adopt new attitudes that have more ‘possibility’. For example, fearful thoughts lead to upsetting feelings which then affect the mood and behaviour. If a person is unable to counter such thoughts with a more positive perspective a negative spiral ensues, restricting behaviour and reinforcing further fearful thoughts. CBT can help you to make sense of overwhelming problems by breaking them down into smaller parts. This makes it easier to see how they are connected and how they affect you.