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Sian Jones CBT

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (or CBT as its commonly known) is a form of psychotherapy which combines cognitive therapy and behaviour therapies, emphasising the importance of ‘how we think effects how we feel and what we do’.

In simple terms, cognitive behavioural therapy addresses negative patterns and distortions in the way we look at the world and ourselves. As the name suggests, this involves two main components:

Cognitive therapy - examines how negative thoughts or cognitions contribute to a negative emotion.
Behavioural therapy - examines how you react to and behave in situations that trigger a negative emotion.

The basic premise of cognitive behavioural therapy is that it’s our thoughts or irrational beliefs – not external events – that affect the way we feel. In other words, it’s not the situation that determines how you feel, but your perception of the situation.

Your thoughts can block you seeing things that don’t fit in with what you believe which can cause you problems if you continue to hold on to them. CBT can help you to identify and challenge any unhealthy beliefs whilst at the same time helping you to identify and reinforce a series of more helpful and rational beliefs – consequently changing the way you feel.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is not about “positive thinking” it is about thinking realistically and logically in situations that are experienced as highly distressing.

Whether it is counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy; in most cases, it takes a number of sessions before the counselling starts to make a difference, and a regular commitment is required to make the best use of the therapy.

Common problems CBT can help with:
Anxiety. Depression. Anger. Low self-confidence/self-esteem. Panic Attacks. Phobias. Stress Management, Exam or test stress. Talking in Public. Social Phobia. Jealousy. Insomnia. Sexual and relationship problems.

How effective is CBT?
Cognitive behavioural therapy is one of the most widely-used therapies and can be effective in the treatment of many emotional disorders.

Clinical trials have shown that CBT can reduce the symptoms of many emotional disorders. For some people it can work just as well as drug therapies at treating depression and anxiety disorders. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends CBT for a number of common mental health disorders.

CBT is known as a more short-term therapy. Therefore it may be less suitable if you feel generally unhappy or unfulfilled but don’t have troubling symptoms or a particular aspect of your life you want to work on. Or perhaps your problems are less clearly defined or maybe long-term or severely disabling. In which a different type of therapy such as counselling may be suitable because this tends to go on longer and will do justice to the number of problems and to the length of time they’ve been around.

What to Expect from Counselling