Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy also known as CBT, is a talking therapy that helps to manage existing problems by adapting the faulty thinking patterns behind them. It is a psycho-social intervention, which has been used widely and backed up by empirical research, is a highly successful form of mental health treatment.

CBT will not aim to remove the problems, but will help the client to manage them in a positive way. The CBT therapist will help to make sense of seemingly overwhelming difficulties by breaking them down into smaller parts.

Discussing and altering behaviour can change how the client thinks (cognitive) and what he/she does (behaviour), bringing great relief.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy seeks realistic ways to improve the state of mind on a daily basis. CBT has proved in clinical trials to be a helpful tool in dealing with long term health conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis and in chronic pain management.

CBT's immediacy and the focus on changing perspective make it a sound choice for treating addiction, eating disorders, anxiety and stress, as the techniques can be applied on a long-term basis.

Research studies have shown that in some cases, a course of CBT can be as effective as medication in treating depression.

What happens during a CBT session?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can be attended in a group setting or one-to-one. It can be delivered in person, or via Skype. Some therapists even work online (instant messaging) to provide CBT, which can be useful for those who cannot travel to attend sessions and prefer the comfort of their own homes.

You are encouraged to actively participate in each stage of therapy, ensuring you can speak about how you’d like your therapy to progress. This can help you develop new perspectives will the help of your therapist.

Depending on your situation, CBT can typically last between six weeks or six months. Most sessions last between 50 minutes and some last an hour. Some therapists may ask if you’d like to book in for follow-up booster sessions once your course of CBT has finished.

At your first session, your therapist will ask you a few questions including why you would like CBT treatment. This is a chance to put aims for the future in to place and discuss what you hope to get out of therapy.

You will likely be given tasks to do at home following sessions. As the therapy continues, you will play a more active part in the therapy, with decisions about the structure and planning of sessions. This is a useful aspect of CBT, as many people find that once therapy has finished, they are able to work independently using the techniques they have learned during the course.

How does CBT work?

The aim of CBT is to help you manage a seemingly overpowering problem by reducing it in to smaller pieces.


These smaller pieces are your responses to the problem, such as the thoughts which might occur, the actions you take and even the physical feelings you might experience in response to the problem.


Each part is intrinsically connected and can feel incredibly overwhelming resulting in negative thought patterns, which might not be realistic in response to a common situation. This can leave you feeling isolated and depleted.


CBT can help with these negative thought processes by equipping you with techniques to overcome the negative patterns.

For example, if you lost your job, you could feel like you are a failure. You could feel as though your performance might be affected in your next role impacting your confidence in applying for something else.

Instead of allowing these circles of negative thought patterns, CBT can help you think in new ways and encourage you to feel more optimistic. As with the example above, it can help you find the strength and energy to embark on a new job search and give you the confidence work at it. It may help you to see your true value.

This is a basic example, but it shows that it can be very easy for these patterns to become hard-wired. Breaking out of these cycles using CBT techniques can impact lives in positive ways. CBT also helps you to become more aware of your own actions and responses, and provides a heightened awareness of your own thought processes.

Is CBT therapy right for me?

As with many therapies, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy might not be for you.

A consultation with a therapist, GP or CBT specialist is highly recommended before embarking on a course of therapy. This will help you decide if CBT feels like the right path for you.

CBT is a very effective method of treatment and much research has shown it’s efficacy.

In many studies, it has been shown to be as effective as medications, if not more so.

In order to benefit from the full effect of CBT, you should be committed to the work, which may include some tasks to complete at home. A desire to change and develop a belief in your self is at the core of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

CBT can be more beneficial for those with more specific issues, such as a phobia or panic attacks, as opposed to more complicated mental health problems.

Please find below a list of issues that CBT is commonly used to treat:





Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Eating Disorders




Sleep problems




Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

CBT can also be used to help those who simply wish to change behavioural patterns that do not serve them in a positive way.

Book an appointment

If you would like to book an appointment with a CBT specialist, please select from our list of available therapists on the right-hand side of the page. Alternatively, please use our search facility to select a therapist in your local area.