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Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies

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“We can’t change the past, so we change how people are thinking, feeling and behaving today”, Albert Ellis, founder of one of the earliest forms of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

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What is cognitive behavioural therapy?

Cognitive and behavioural therapies are short-term, goal-driven approaches to therapy which teach you how to recognise and change negative thoughts and behaviours.

Cognitive behavioural therapy techniques

Cognitive and behavioural therapies hold that it’s the way we interpret situations rather than the situations themselves which cause us problems. When left to their own devices, negative thoughts can easily spiral out of control and lead us into a vicious cycle overshadowing the way we experience everyday life. The aim of cognitive and behavioural therapies is to break these negative mental loops by overhauling the way you think and respond to situations.

What happens in CBT?

In your sessions, your therapist will help you identify which thoughts, feelings and behaviours might be holding you back. Once you’ve established what these are, they’ll provide you with techniques to help you to replace them with new, more positive ways of thinking and behaving instead.

The real success of cognitive and behavioural therapies rests in your ability to put these techniques to practice in your day to day life. This means you’ll be expected to be active both during your sessions, and also in the work you do outside of them. Therefore it’s important that you feel committed in devoting time and energy to work outside of your sessions too if you want to get the most out of these types of therapies.

How long is CBT?

Cognitive and behavioural therapies are different to other traditional approaches because they work on resolving only your present issues. This means that your sessions will focus on helping you find a quick fix to your immediate symptoms, instead of trying to explore your past or find any kind of underlying root cause. For this reason, cognitive and behavioural therapies tend to be short-term (anywhere from 6 to 24 sessions), and many therapists will set a clear agenda at the beginning of your treatment focused around meeting specific goals throughout the course of your therapy.

Who can benefit from cognitive and behavioural therapies?

Cognitive and behavioural therapies are most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression. Aiming to fix symptoms rather than looking at the past, these types of therapies are best suited to those looking to find a more immediate solution to their issues.

If you’re looking to understand the root cause of your problems or believe your issues might stem deeper from the past, you might want to choose a more in-depth approach to therapy which allows you to explore your earlier life experiences too.

Finding CBT therapy near me

If you would like to learn more about what CBT can offer, we have a range of CBT therapists that can help. Start your journey to better health today.



Types of Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies



Cognitive behavioural therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy combines cognitive and behavioural approaches to make you aware of negative thought patterns and behaviours, and teaching you ways to change them. Instead of looking at your past, cognitive behavioural therapy focuses on helping you resolve present symptoms and issues.

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Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and commitment therapy believes that real pain happens because of the way we struggle with it instead of the experience itself. ACT uses techniques that will help you look at challenges differently and develop a relationship with pain, instead of avoiding it.

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Cognitive therapy

Cognitive therapy holds that the way we think shapes everyday experiences. Cognitive therapy will focus on helping you change unhealthy thought patterns, and then work towards helping you replace them with positive ones instead.

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Behaviour therapy (BT)

Behaviour therapy focuses on changing negative or unwanted behaviour patterns. Working from the assumption that all behaviour is learned (and can therefore be unlearnt), behaviour therapy will help you make positive, action-based changes to your life.

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