CBT is often the treatment of choice for some specific issues or disorders. For example, CBT is very successful in treating:
- Anxiety, panic and worry
- OCD - Obsessional and complusive disorders
- Health anxiety
- Eating disorders
- Sexual disfunction
CBT is based on the idea that the way we think about situations can affect the way we feel and behave. Negative thought patterns can be built up from an early age and have a big impact on how we think and behave and live our lives.
The client works with the therapist to identify negative think patterns and behaviour and then challenge those patterns with support from the therapist. This may include focusing what is going on in your life at the current time but may also include looking at part behaviours and experiences. With support, the client is encouraged to experiment with new behaviours and new ways of thinking to bring about their own change and, in effect, become their own therapist.
CBT is often a short-term treatment but the length of treatment would depend on the individual and issues they wish to address. CBT teaches coping skills for dealing with different problems.
CBT frequently involves project work, with the client giving themselves mini homework tasks to complete for themselves between sessions.
The key to good CBT is excellent collaboration between the client and the therapist and it is important to choose a therapist who suits. The relationship should be non-judgemental. The collaborative style means that the client is actively involved in the therapy.
You can find out more about CBT through the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP).