Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and how to find a CBT therapist
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of psychological talking therapy treatment that helps patients to understand the thoughts, beliefs and attitudes that influence their feelings and behaviours. Placing emphasis on the here and now, a qualified cognitive behavioural therapist can help you break down your problems into smaller, more manageable parts. Cognitive behaviour therapists will work with you to agree established goals for the therapy.
CBT is usually short-term and focuses specifically on helping to deal with a specific problem or difficulty. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sessions are straightforward and accessible from any location via Skype.
The underlying theory being CBT is that thought patterns are at the root of how we interpret and deal with situations and that changing how we think can affect how we feel or behave. This is based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviours, as opposed to external events or situations.
How does CBT work?
Cognitive behavioural therapy can help you to become more aware of your thought patterns and how these affect your emotions and behaviours. It emphasises identifying, challenging and changing negative thought patterns so that you can challenge your thoughts about situations and become more aware of how your thinking might be determining how you view the world and how you behave.
How to find a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist
If you are looking to find a good CBT therapist it is important to make sure that they have the appropriate skills, training and experience. The British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) and The British Psychological Society (BPS) are membership bodies for accredited CBT therapists in the UK. You can find a CBT therapist who is insured to practice and registered with a recognised UK membership body online here.
What can CBT help with?
Under the UK government’s NICE guidelines, CBT is recognised as one of the most effective treatments for a number of mental health issues. These conditions include anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders, anger problems, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), phobias, drug and alcohol abuse, sleep issues and relationship problems. In some cases, CBT can match the effectiveness of antidepressant medications such as Sertraline.
CBT can also be used to treat chronic health conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and arthritis. While it cannot provide a cure for these conditions, it can help individuals cope with their physical symptoms in the long-term. CBT can offer support for issues including depression, anxiety, panic attacks, stress, self-esteem, anger management, eating disorders, trauma and PTSD, phobias, addictions, obsessive compulsive disorder and other areas.
Pros and cons of CBT
The benefits of CBT include:
• Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is more brief than other therapeutic approaches.
• You will gain techniques and practical strategies to continue using in everyday life once therapy has ended.
• There is lots of research to support the effectiveness of CBT, as it is usually focused on measurable goals.
• CBT is a collaborative process; you and your therapist will work together to set goals.
Some disadvantage of CBT:
• CBT tends to focus on the here and now and the management of specific issues, as opposed to understanding the unconscious causes for them (for example childhood trauma).
• While all therapy requires work, CBT also involves homework or practice outside of sessions, which may not be suitable for some.
• CBT sessions are highly structured, which may be less suitable if you have complex mental health issues.
• CBT focuses on you as an individual rather than on wider problems in family or societal contexts.
Types of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
There are many therapeutic approaches that involve CBT. A few of the most common include:
• Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) focuses on identifying and altering irrational beliefs (such as inflexible beliefs starting with phrases like “I must” and “I should”, eg. “I should be able to do everything I used to, at all times”). REBT therapy centres on challenging such beliefs and learning to recognise the thought patterns affecting them.
• Cognitive Therapy focuses on identifying and changing inaccurate or distorted thinking patterns and problematic emotional responses. This process is used to ultimately change the associated behaviours with these thought patterns, by enabling more flexible ways of thinking.
• Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) focuses on identifying negative thought patterns and behaviours and incorporates emotional regulation and mindfulness strategies in treatment.
• Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) emphasises the role of accepting our feelings and emotions as they are, rather than trying to change or stop them, as a way to live a healthier life. ACT integrates mindfulness exercises as a method of experiencing and understanding emotions.
How many sessions of CBT will I need?
The number of cognitive behavioural therapy sessions you receive from a counsellor or psychotherapist will depend on your presenting issues. Short term courses of cognitive behavioural therapy are usually recommended when an individual presents issues that are non-complex. You and your therapist can discuss how many sessions may be required during your first consultation.
Your cognitive behaviour therapist
A qualified, professional cognitive behaviour therapist will work with you to examine your thoughts and behaviours and improve how you feel. You will build a relationship based on trust, giving you the confidence to share your feelings and emotions with them. Your therapist should listen to all that you have to share with empathy and openness.
We ensure that all therapists on the Prohealth Therapy platform are UK registered, insured, and professionally trained counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists and cognitive behaviour therapists. They will work with you to decide the pace of your treatment and how many sessions of CBT you might need.
What can you expect from a CBT session?
Your cognitive behaviour therapist will assist you in breaking down overwhelming problems into smaller parts. This will help you to see how they are connected and how they are affecting you. You will meet with your cognitive behavioural therapist for a course of weekly sessions that will last approximately 50 minutes. During your first consultation, your therapist will examine how suitable CBT is for managing your issues and assess how comfortable you feel with undertaking therapy. Your therapist may ask you to keep a diary and track your emotions, patterns of thoughts, physical feelings, and actions. You will then look at this log together and work out how your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours may be connected, how they affect you, and if they are unrealistic or unhelpful.
Once you have identified what can be changed, your therapist may recommend homework that will help you to practice and apply these changes in your everyday life. This may include questioning upsetting thoughts and countering them with more positive ones, or focusing on taking positive action when you recognise that you may be about to do something that will make you feel worse. Cognitive behavioural therapy is not an instant fix or miracle cure. However, CBT can be greatly beneficial as you can continue to use the skills you learn in future situations to prevent negative thought spirals.
Find a cognitive behavioural therapist through the Prohealth Therapy platform.
At Prohealth Therapy, we vet our therapists to ensure that they are registered and insured to practice as a therapist in the UK. We check that they are registered members of UK professional bodies, to ensure that all of our therapists have completed the professional training necessary to work as a licensed practitioner.
What counselling is, how it works and how to find a counsellor in your area
Counselling involves talking through what is troubling you in a safe, supportive environment. Anyone can be helped to transform their life through our counselling which is accessible from any location. A qualified counsellor will work with you to build a relationship based on trust, empathy and support. Each counselling experience is unique, with results individual to you.
What is counselling?
Counselling incorporates talking therapies to assist you in understanding yourself better; allowing you to share whatever is troubling you within a safe, supportive environment.
Counselling is more effective than talking to a friend. Instead of offering advice, counselling provides a fresh, professional perspective on the issues you are facing while teaching you relevant coping strategies. You may find it easier to speak to a professional counsellor than a family member or friend, as they are not personally involved in your situation.
Forms of counselling
Counselling can cover a number of talking therapies, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and humanistic/person-centred therapy. A mix of different approaches, known as integrative counselling, can also be explored.
Who can benefit from counselling?
At Prohealth Therapy, we believe counselling can help anyone to transform their lives, regardless of who they are or how big their problems may be. You do not have to be in a crisis to benefit from counselling. Counselling can help if you feel distressed or wish to address specific problems, but can also assist you to boost your self-confidence and identify more effective ways of living your life.
Whilst rewarding, the journey towards change through counselling may not always be easy, requiring you to put in time and commitment to gain results.
What issues can be addressed through counselling?
Counselling can help you work through a number of issues, including everyday worries and stresses as well as traumatic or distressing events including relationship breakdown or the loss of a loved one. Long term psychological issues such as anxiety or depression can also be addressed through counselling. Counselling may also be beneficial to those experiencing difficulties in their career, a lack of self-confidence, patterns of poor decision making, or a frequently unhealthy work-life balance.
A qualified, professional counsellor will work with you to build a relationship based on trust, giving you the confidence to share your feelings and emotions with them. Your counsellor will listen to all that you have to share with empathy and openness.
We ensure all therapists on the Prohealth Therapy platform are UK registered, insured, and professionally trained counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists and cognitive behavioural therapists. They are skilled and experienced, helping you to make positive choices by gaining an improved understanding of yourself and others. Counsellors will not judge you, nor will they force you into following a particular course of action.
Three types of therapists can offer counselling services in the UK:
Counsellors: A counsellor will have undertaken three or four years of study to become specifically trained in counselling theory and skills. Counsellors will also have a wealth of clinical experience conducting face-to-face counselling. They may undertake short-term or medium-term work with their clients.
Counselling or Clinical Psychologists: A counselling psychologist will have undertaken a similar training program to a counsellor or psychotherapist, but will also hold a higher education degree in psychology. This allows them to benefit from a broader scientific knowledge of the human mind and human behaviour. All practicing counselling psychologists must be registered with the UK Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC.)
Psychotherapists: A psychotherapist will have similar training to a counsellor, however their training tends to take longer and psychotherapists are more likely to work longer term with their clients. There are many types of psychotherapists, but they all have a common focus of helping you to understand the impact of your past experiences on your present emotions and actions, to find the best way forward for you. Patients can learn about themselves by exploring their interactions within the therapeutic relationship.
What can you expect from a counselling session?
During your first meeting, you and your counsellor can discuss the length of your session (50 minutes), the reasons for scheduling weekly sessions (to provide consistency), and your counsellor's cancellation policy. Counselling sessions will often end at the time agreed between you and your counsellor, so it is important that you are prompt in attending each session. Counselling can be undertaken as a single session or as a short-term course conducted over weeks or months.
Your counsellor will place their full attention on you throughout the session. They will encourage you to explore problems you may be facing and share any emotions and thoughts that arise. Your counsellor may initiate silences to prompt reflection, ask relevant questions about what you have shared, and clarify points to ensure they have a clear understanding of your discussion. Conversations should not feel like an interview or idle small talk.
There is no ‘typical’ or standard way of working during a therapy session. Some therapists may find it useful to set out an agenda for each session and review your progress frequently; helping you to acknowledge what is working successfully for you. Counsellors may set homework tasks or topics to investigate in your own time away from therapy, helping you to maintain progress between sessions.
There will be times during your counselling sessions where it may be necessary to discuss uncomfortable or painful things. Whatever is discussed between yourself and your counsellor will remain confidential (excluding legal and ethical exceptions and the monitoring of therapists by a supervisor.) Counsellors will support you through this process.
What results can you expect from your counselling session?
Each counselling experience is unique, with results individual to you. The commitment you make to your counselling sessions and what you desire to achieve from each session can affect the results of the counselling process.
General results may include, but are not limited to, a better perspective on your life, stronger knowledge of yourself and others, a clearer understanding of how to make positive choices that can lead to greater happiness, an improved ability to cope with anxiety and stress, and clarity regarding your hopes for your future and how to take positive steps towards these goals.
Counselling can come in different formats:
Individual counselling (face to face) Couples counselling; Online counselling via Skype or email; read more
Telephone counselling; read more