Cognitive Behaviour Therapy - CBT

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is a way of talking about how we think about ourselves, the world and other people and how what we do affects our thoughts and feelings.

Cognitive means our "thought processes", or very literally the way we think. Cognitive therapy looks at the way our thoughts and beliefs may be linked to our moods, behaviour and physical experiences and to the events in our lives.

The thoughts we have about an experience, in other words - the way we interpret them, has been shown to have a powerful effect on our emotional (what we feel), behavioural (what we do) and physiological (what our bodies do) responses. This is a central theme for cognitive behavioural therapy and is used to work with all types of difficulties or problems.

This is a simplified way of looking at what happens.

This is a simplified way of looking at what happens with CBT

This "vicious circle" can make us feel worse; it can even create new situations that make us feel worse. We can start to believe quite unrealistic (and unpleasant) things about ourselves. This happens because when we are distressed we are more likely to jump to conclusions and to interpret things in extreme and unhelpful ways.

The goal of CBT is to work together to help identify and alter dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs that are mainly negative, biased and/or self critical, and to develop more appropriate cognitive and behavioural skills. This is achieved by increasing self-awareness and facilitating a better self-understanding. CBT works in the 'here and now', not looking into the reasons and events causing the problem, just at the present effect on our lives.