What is CBT, and how can it help me?

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy – CBT looks at how you think about a situation and how this affects the way you act. In turn your actions can affect how you think and feel, which could lead to having negative effects on yourself. Normally the therapist you’re working with will work with you in changing your behaviour, your thinking patterns, and sometimes they will look at how they can change both of these.

Cognitive behavioural therapy can help was a number of things such as:

  • anxiety disorders (including panic attacks and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder))
  • depression
  • obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • schizophrenia and psychosis
  • bipolar disorder

CBT is also used for many other things, such as sleep disorders, anger management  and behavioural difficulties in children.

CBT helps you stop the negative cycles that you’re experiencing. It helps to break down factors that are making you feel low, anxious or scared so that they are more manageable and more ‘bite-size’ pieces. It can show you how to change these negative patterns to improve the way you feel. This could lead to you having a more positive mental health in the long term.

Your therapist will not tell you what to do. Instead they will help you decide what difficulties you want to work on in order to help you improve your situation. They will help you discuss your difficulties and set you goals to achieve, this could be through setting pieces of homework to complete for your next session or tracking your moods which can help you on how to avoid certain situations.

Self-Help CBT can also be used, there’s books which you can buy that will be a lot of help, and help you to understand the specific treatment.

A therapist can only help and advise you but without your input or co-operation nothing will change. Like always, the first few sessions are always the hardest as you’re adapting to a new surrounding, but with time it will start to get easier and you’ll be able to feel more comfortable talking about your distresses. It’s not an easy fix though, each session you have will require hard work, it’s a long process but in the end it’s worth it!

It’s good to remember though, not one treatment will work on everyone, you could find that this doesn’t help you to which would be a good time to talk to your therapist so they can put others therapies in place.


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