What is CBT?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns, emotions, and behaviours. It is a practical, goal-oriented, and evidence-based treatment that has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The main idea behind CBT is that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are interconnected and influence each other. In other words, our thoughts can shape our emotions, and our emotions can shape our behaviours. For example, if someone has a negative thought about themselves, such as "I'm not good enough," this can lead to feelings of sadness and anxiety, which can then lead to avoidance behaviours or self-destructive behaviours, such as overeating or substance abuse.
CBT aims to help individuals identify these negative patterns and replace them with more positive and adaptive ones. This is typically done through a combination of cognitive restructuring (challenging negative thoughts and beliefs) and behavioural activation (engaging in activities that promote positive emotions and behaviours).
One of the key features of CBT is its focus on present-day problems and solutions. Unlike other forms of therapy that may delve deeply into past experiences or childhood issues, CBT tends to focus on current thoughts, emotions, and behaviours that are causing distress or impairing functioning. This makes CBT a practical and time-limited treatment, with most individuals seeing improvement within 12-20 sessions.
Another advantage of CBT is that it is highly structured and tailored to each individual's specific needs and goals. The therapist and client work together to identify specific targets for change and develop strategies to achieve those targets. This can involve homework assignments, behavioural experiments, or other techniques that help the client practice new skills and behaviours in real-life situations.
CBT has been extensively researched and has consistently been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of mental health conditions. In fact, it is considered to be one of the most evidence-based treatments for mental health disorders. Additionally, CBT has few side effects and can be used in conjunction with other treatments, such as medication or other forms of therapy. Our therapists sometimes use CBT as a tool in their toolbox if it suits your goals, but not as a band-aid approach. If you are interested in learning more, reach out for your free consultation today.