What is CBT?
You have probably heard of CBT… but do you know what it actually is?
CBT (otherwise known as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a treatment which uses psychotherapy. It works by placing emphasis on the fact that many of life’s problems arise when we have negative thought patterns and or behaviours. (This refers to the ‘cognitive’ part).
Clinical psychologists use CBT to shift people towards obtainable, healthy and productive goals rather than dwelling on the negative and causing distress. It is the psychologist’s job to identify these problematic thoughts and behaviors and work with the client/patient over time to replace these thoughts with more constructive responses.
So what does CBT treat?
CBT can be used for a number of different mental health issues… from anxiety and depression to eating disorders and ADHD. Some clients/ patients have also found it effective at dealing with relationship problems and lack of self-esteem. Essentially, if the problem stems from a negative thought process, CBT can be an effective treatment.
In fact, if we look specifically at anxiety, research indicates that over 60% of those who take part in CBT therapy experience substantial improvements in their overall symptoms after just a few sessions 
And the best part?
It is a method that teaches people the skills they need to gain control of their life, to become more resilient, make better decisions, recover and heal.
CBT is considered the gold standard for talk therapy by various organizations such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK, the National Institute of Mental Health and others around the world.
What can I expect from CBT sessions?
A typical CBT session varies depending on the individual client/ patient, but often you will begin by discussing with the therapist the problems that need to be worked through and setting goals to work towards.
The session may also include some of the below:
- Working through exercises that explore your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. This can be in the form of diagrams, worksheets or a personal diary.
- You will most likely be given work to complete in your own time, which you will be asked to report back in the next session.
- A follow up session usually begins with you discussing the conclusions from your last session, and the progress you have made towards achieving these goals.
I’m interested in exploring CBT, but worried how to get started?
The first step is to recognize the unhelpful/ destructive thoughts/ behaviours you wish to work on- which if you are considering trying CBT you have already attempted to do something about but keep struggling.
The second step is to reach out.
You can do this in a number of ways. Start by approaching your GP who may be able to offer you a form of treatment, or at least provide more information and guidance about available services.
In some countries, depending on where you are in the world, wait times can be long for CBT. If you can, consider turning to the private sector. A quick Google search will produce many helpful lists of qualified therapists including the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) if you are in the UK.
If you would really like to immerse yourself in CBT, why not consider a personalized intensive retreat? Choices Personalized Retreats is run by Dr Jeremy Alford– a clinical psychologist who is a member of the British Psychological Society and Member of the International Association for Cognitive Psychotherapy.
His personalized intensive integrative CBT and Mindfulness program is based on years of clinical practice and focuses on identifying improved ways of helping people who are struggling with mental health. Enabling them to find hope, recovery and finally break free from vicious cycles and patterns.
CBT can also be offered online and be as effective as in person face to face sessions.
Start by booking an initial FREE online consultation here: https://www.choicesretreats.com/optin/