CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Lindsay is a BABCP accredited CBT practitioner

You can find details of all CBT therapists accredited by the leading professional body for CBT, the BABCP, online at: CBT Accredited Therapists

CBT is a talking therapy that has proved effective for treating a wide range of problems – emotional, psychological and physical.  It is one of the most highly recommended therapies (NICE-National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) and has successfully proven tests of time and research.

CBT combines cognitive therapy – (looking at the way you think) and behaviour therapy (looking at the things you do).  It tends to have a more immediate focus – “what will help now?”  and includes useful assessment and reflective tools that can help you understand how problems have developed, and how best to make changes that will make a real difference.


The Theory

CBT is based on the theory that our thoughts affect our feelings and behaviours – so if we can identify our thoughts and address those, we will develop healthier behaviours and feelings.

A simple example – if we pass someone we know in the street, but they don’t talk to us, we might feel worried, angry or concerned – all depending on what we’re thinking:

We might think –

  1. s/he doesn’t want to talk to me, I must have done something wrong” – we’re worried we’ve offended her/him
  2. s/he ignored me…” – we’re angry
  3. s/he looked really preoccupied, I wonder if s/he’s okay?” – we’re concerned

These thoughts are likely to affect our behaviour –

  1. We keep worrying, we might feel upset and avoid this person
  2. We pull back from contact; we might ignore this person when we next see them
  3. We might call her/him later to see how s/he’s doing

Clients work with their therapist to clarify what the difficulties are, and together work out what could help make life better. The therapist can’t make changes happen, but works with the client to help them set their own goals, and then help them learn how to change negative or unhelpful ways of thinking or behaving.

Although it is a talking therapy, CBT is a proactive model.  Clients are equipped to work on issues between sessions – as well as learning techniques they can use after therapy has ended.

Depending on the difficulties faced, the therapist and client agree together what number of sessions may be needed.  This is usually between 6-24 sessions, (short-term work) although longer term work (over 24 sessions) can be agreed when necessary.  Clients and therapists review work together so that clients can make informed choices about their therapy.

It helps with a wide range of difficulties, including:

  • depression
  • anxiety disorders
  • panic attacks
  • post-traumatic stress disorder – PTSD
  • phobias
  • low self-esteem
  • obsessive compulsive disorder
  • schizophrenia and psychosis
  • personality disorder
  • bipolar disorder
  • chronic fatigue
  • chronic pain
  • physical symptoms without a medical diagnosis
  • sleep difficulties
  • anger management
  • eating problems
  • drug and alcohol problems

For more information, please see: What is CBT? BABCP website link

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