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 proven effective for helping individuals with a wide range of challenges – emotional, psychological and physical.  It is one of the most highly recommended therapeutic approaches by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) and continues to evolve through an ongoing to commitment to enquiry, learning and research.

CBT combines cognitive therapy (looking at the way you think) and behaviour therapy (looking at the things you do). The model identifies how thoughts, behaviours, emotions and physical states can affect one-another, and how healthy changes in any area can create positive gains in others. It tends to have a more immediate focus – “what will help now?” – but also includes useful assessment and reflective exercises that can help you understand how problems have developed and how to make changes that will make a real difference.


The Theory

CBT theory proposes that if we identify and address unhelpful or maladaptive cognitions (thoughts or images), we can develop healthier behaviours and feelings.

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

We might feel –

  1. Sad, because we think, “s/he doesn’t want to talk to me because s/he doesn’t like me
  2. Angry, because we think “s/he deliberately ignored me…”
  3. Worried, because we think “s/he looked really troubled, I wonder if s/he’s okay?

These thoughts are likely to affect our behaviour –

  1. We avoid this person
  2. We might ignore this person, or be abrupt when we next meet them
  3. We might call her/him later to see how s/he’s doing

In CBT, 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 to help them learn how to change negative or unhelpful ways of thinking or behaving.

Although it is a talking therapy, CBT is a proactive process.  Clients are equipped to work on issues between sessions, as well as learning skills and techniques they can apply to future challenges.

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 disorders
  • 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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