Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT as it is commonly referred to, is a talking therapy that emphasises how our thoughts (cognitions) are closely linked with our feelings and what we do (behaviour).
During times of mental distress, people think differently about themselves and what happens to them. Thoughts can become extreme and unhelpful, which can worsen how a person feels. As a consequence, they may then behave in ways that prolongs their distress. For example, by avoiding or withdrawing from people, situations or from pleasurable activities and interests.
CBT therapists work in a collaborative way with their clients in order to help each person develop more balanced and helpful ways of thinking, and to support them in changing self-defeating behaviour. The result is often a major improvement in how a person feels and the quality of their lives in general.
During sessions, the emphasis is on working in a practical, step-by-step manner toward achieving your goals. This also involves completing in-between session or ‘homework’ tasks (e.g. completing diaries of your thoughts and emotions or doing something different) to help you make gradual changes in your day-to-day life and relationships.
CBT can be used to help anyone irrespective of ability, culture, race, gender or sexual preference. It can be used on its own or in conjunction with medication, depending on the severity or nature of each person's problem.