Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Treatment that works
What is CBT?
CBT is a talking treatment which involves client and therapist working together to identify and understand particular emotional difficulties.
A practical, present-focused, and collaborative style is used to develop an understanding of problems in terms of the relationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
The aim is to determine what is keeping distress going. In CBT, therapist and client develop a list of personalised, time-limited treatment goals and strategies for change.
This approach can be used to help anyone, irrespective of ability, culture, race or gender.
Unlike some other talking treatments, CBT is relatively brief, has proven efficacy and longstanding effects.
What can CBT help?
According to the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines, CBT is a recommended treatment for:
- Sleep disturbance
- Panic disorder
- Social phobia & shyness
- Chronic fatigue
- Driving phobia
- Fear of flying
- Low self-esteem
- OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
- PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- Childhood fears and phobias
How does CBT work?
Karen was a sales executive whose company had been through a number of changes in previous months, with resulting redundancies and restructuring. This had been a worrying time, and Karen had begun to lose sleep, and see less of her friends and family, while increasingly bringing work home on weekends.
One morning on the way to work she experienced difficulty breathing, tightness in her chest and palpitations and fearing she would pass out, she pulled over in the car to calm down and took the quiet roads back home.
Over the next week, the same symptoms of breathlessness, and racing heart returned daily. Alarmed that there might be something wrong with her heart, Karen was signed off work and went to her local hospital for tests. These were negative and doctors informed her that anxiety was the most likely cause. Karen was advised that the recommended treatment for her symptoms was a form of talking therapy called CBT or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Over the next 6 weeks, Karen attended weekly sessions of CBT where she learned that her symptoms were a form of panic disorder, that this is a relatively common reaction to stress and that she could learn to control it.
With her therapist she learned how catastrophic thoughts were maintaining her anxiety, and gradually she was able to manage these, and panics reduced in intensity. At the same time, she explored ways of coping with stress at work, and improving sleep patterns.
After only 4 sessions, panics had reduced to once per week, and Karen had returned to work.
With follow-up sessions looking at how to use exercise, and time management, she began to reintroduce social activities, and planned a holiday..
At session 8 she was panic free and noted:
“I have my life back... CBT is a godsend.”