What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy(CBT)?

Cognitive-behavioural therapy, commonly referred to as CBT, is based on the concept that negative thinking patterns and self-defeating behaviours can have a powerful effect on a person's emotions.

CBT is a structured therapy, which involves a partnership between the client and therapist. Together with the therapist, clients examine all elements that maintain a problem, including their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. As a client, you are fully involved in planning your treatment and the therapist will always let you know what is happening.

What do CBT Therapists do?

  • CBT therapists help clients develop coping skills that enable them to be more in control of their thoughts (that's the cognitive part) and their actions (that's the behavioral part).
  • CBT therapists recognize that those suffering from excessive anxiety tend to focus on and exaggerate the frightening aspects of certain situations, so they help them gain a more realistic perspective in order to decrease their anxiety.
  • CBT therapists know that individuals with anxiety often avoid situations they fear, and that avoidance often makes things worse by prolonging anxiety. Therefore, CBT therapists help the client overcome avoidance by gradually facing what is feared.
A cognitive behaviour therapy expert explains how this psychological treatment works and who could benefit from it.

Does CBT work?

  • CBT has been extensively investigated in rigorous clinical trials and has demonstrated efficacy in treating anxiety and depression in children and adults.
  • For many problems such as anxiety and depression, CBT has been found to be as effective as medication. CBT can be used alone or in conjunction with medication, depending on the severity and nature of each client's problem.

What can I expect during CBT?

  • Clients are first evaluated to obtain a thorough history and background information to better understand the nature of the difficulties for which treatment is being sought.
  • Clients will also be asked to complete assessments and questionnaires.
  • Treatment usually takes place on a weekly basis, focusing on current issues.
  • A treatment plan is completed to set goals and to monitor progress.
  • The number of sessions varies with the type of difficulties being treated.
  • Often clients will be asked to practice specific techniques in between sessions, as they are expected to be active participants in their own therapy.
  • Once the skills are learned and practiced, clients can keep using what they have learned in therapy to approach other problems in their life.

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