What is CBT?

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, or CBT, is a highly effective method of intervention for a range of psychological problems. CBT holds that the way we think about the world influences how we feel and how we behave.

How does CBT work?

CBT methods focus on identifying how a persons’ thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs are affecting their lives. For example, someone who is highly stressed may believe that they have to do everything perfectly, and may become frustrated and more stressed when they believe they are not performing to their standard.

CBT Thought-Feelings-Behaviour connectionCBT then focuses upon changing the unhelpful or negative thoughts, attitudes and beliefs. Lifestyle changes may also be implemented. The process of change is central to CBT.

CBT recognises that the body and the mind are connected, and uses physical techniques (such as relaxation and breathing exercises) in conjunction with the more “mind-focussed” aspects of therapy.

CBT is relatively short-term, and whilst it is acknowledged that past experiences shape and influence who we are, CBT focuses much more on what is happening for the individual now. We can’t go back and change the past, but we are able to change our present.

CBT introduces strategies, or tools for coping in a more effective way, for various issues. The tools you will learn are all evidence based, meaning that research has shown that the particular tool or strategy is effective. By the end of therapy, you will have a number of proven strategies which you can use in all different types of situations.

CBT puts the client in the driver’s seat, and the aim of intervention is to make the client their own therapist, equipped with the necessary skills to face and cope effectively with all that life may deal them – now and long into the future.

What is the Effectiveness of CBT?

In hundreds of clinical trials, CBT has been demonstrated to be an effective treatment for a wide variety of disorders. To name just a few, it has been found useful for:

  • psychiatric disorders such as depression, the full range of anxiety disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse, personality disorders, and (along with medication) bipolar disorder and schizophrenia;
  • medical disorders with a psychological component, including several conditions involving chronic or acute pain,  chronic fatigue syndrome, pre-menstrual syndrome, colitis, sleep disorders, obesity, Gulf War syndrome, and somatoform disorders; and
  • psychological problems such as anger, relationship difficulties, and compulsive gambling.

CBT is also used to address stress, low self-esteem, grief and loss, work-related problems and problems associated with aging.

Full list of conditions CBT can treat

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Agoraphobia and Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia
  • Dental Phobia
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Geriatric Anxiety
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Social Anxiety / Social Phobia
  • Withdrawal from Anti-Anxiety Medications
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Atypical sexual practices/sex offenders
  • Bipolar Disorder (in combination with medication)
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Caregiver distress
  • Depression
  • Geriatric Depression
  • Relapse Prevention
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Anorexia
  • Binge-eating Disorder
  • Bulimia
  • Gambling (in combination with medication)
  • Habit disorders
  • Marital discord
  • Schizophrenia (in combination with medication)
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Somatization Disorder
  • Substance Abuse
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Cocaine abuse (CBT relapse prevention is effective)
  • Opiate dependence
  • Smoking cessation (Group CBT is effective, as well as CBT that has multiple treatment components in combination with relapse prevention)
  • Suicide attempts
  • Asthma with Coexisting Panic Disorder (in combination with asthma education)
  • Cancer pain
  • Chronic back pain
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Chronic pain (CBT, in combination with physical therapy, is effective for chronic pain in many medical conditions)
  • Colitis
  • Erectile dysfunction (CBT is effective for reducing sexual anxiety and improving communication)
  • Fatigue and functional impairments among cancer survivors
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Geriatric sleep disorders
  • Gulf War Syndrome
  • Hypertension (CBT is effective as an adjunctive treatment)
  • Hypochondriasis, or the unsubstantiated belief that one has a serious medical condition
  • Infertility (anovulation)
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable-bowel syndrome
  • Migraine headaches
  • Non-cardiac chest pain
  • Obesity (CBT is effective in combination with hypnosis)
  • Pain with no known cause (Idiopathic pain)
  • Physical complaints not explained by a medical condition (Somatoform disorders)
  • Pre-menstrual syndrome
  • Rheumatic disease pain (CBT that has multiple treatment components is effective)
  • Sickle cell disease pain (CBT that has multiple treatment components is effective)
  • Sleep disorders
  • Somatization Disorder
  • Temporomandibular Disorder pain
  • Tinnitus
  • Vulvodynia
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Avoidant disorder
  • Chronic pain
  • Conduct disorder (oppositional defiant disorder)
  • Depression (among adolescents and depressive symptoms among children)
  • Distress due to medical procedures (mainly for cancer)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Overanxious disorder
  • Phobias
  • Physical complaints not explained by a medical condition (Somatoform disorders)
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Recurrent abdominal pain
  • Separation anxiety
  • Aging
  • Family therapy
  • Grief and loss
  • Group therapy
  • Low self-esteem
  • Psychiatric Inpatients
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Separation and Divorce
  • Stress
  • Work problems & procrastination
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