Everything You Need to Know About Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a talk therapy that helps you deal with your fears and mental issues by giving you the power to take control of your thought process. CBT treatment is based on the concept that your thoughts, emotions and actions are all interconnected which means that changing the way you think or feel about a certain situation will also change the way you react to it.

A person suffering from panic attacks or social anxiety disorder (SAD) might be terrified of going to public places like restaurants. CBT will encourage the patient to think about this situation in a more realistic manner which will help in the realization of fact that going to restaurants is something normal and safe.

In short, CBT enables the patients to develop a rational response to every situation which was once perceived as dangerous by them.

It also helps you develop the ability to identify and eliminate negative thoughts and emotions that you associate with certain events.

CBT has proven to be more effective than prescribed medication for majority of mental disorders. Unlike psychotic medicines, CBT prevents relapse and which makes it a long term solution for your mental problems.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was introduced by Dr. Aron T. Beck in the 1960s and many clinical trials have been conducted since than to prove the effectiveness of this therapy. CBT is now used by psychiatrists all over the world to treat a wide range of disorders that include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic Attacks
  • Phobias
  • Addictions
  • Sleeping disorder
  • Eating disorder

Types of CBT

CBT can be performed in a variety of ways depending on the convenience of the patient. These different methods include:

  • Individual Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Self-help Book Therapy
  • Computerized CBT (CCBT)

Duration of Treatment

Treatment duration of CBT is short as compared to many other talk therapies as it takes a direct and goal oriented approach towards solving the problem rather than focusing on the incidents from your past. Normally, a session which lasts for about 60 minutes is required once a week or every two weeks. You can start noticing considerable improvement in a matter of month or two. In most cases, it does not require more than 12 sessions for the patient to be completely treated.

How is CBT Performed?

Therapist carefully plans every session of CBT to ensure best results. Measurable goals are set at the end of every session which are to be achieved by the patient until next session through activities and exercises prescribed by the therapist. Patient’s input is taken in every step of the process which makes patients feel empowered and it also limits the dependency on therapist. This sense of being in control that patients get is one of the major reasons for the success of CBT.

What to Expect in Your First Session?

In first session of CBT, therapist briefs the patient about the structure and objective of this therapy.

Next step for the therapist is to asses the current situation of patient by identifying his / her issues. This identification is than followed by some homework which usually comprises of keeping a journal. Patients are required to write all negative thoughts that came to their mind in the journal until the next session. Patients are also required to write the time, situation and actions that lead to those negative thoughts so that therapist can identify a pattern of destructive behavior.

Flow of Subsequent Sessions

After clear goals for therapy are set in the first session, therapist tracks the progress of the patient by monitoring mood and measuring progress on assignment given to the patient in previous session. All of the subsequent CBT sessions follow a similar pattern which is outlined below:

  1. Check the patient’s mood
  2. Check homework and progress
  3. Introduce a new relaxation / coping technique
  4. Assign a new homework based on the newly introduced technique
  5. Get feedback from the patient

In order for the therapy to be effective, patient is required to be totally committed towards completing the homework assigned by therapist. Furthermore, a strong bond between therapist and patient is essential where the patient feels comfortable in letting the therapist know if something is not working and vice versa.

Finding a Therapist

You should first discuss your symptoms with your general practitioner to see if your problem is medical in nature. Otherwise, you GP will refer you to a therapist in your area.

You can also find a therapist in your area by clicking the link below:


Final Words

It is never too late to get help for your mental issues. Even the most famous and successful people in the world face issues and challenges in their lives for which they go to therapists and psychiatrists to get help. Hiding your illness or being ashamed of it will only make the situation worst and you will be stuck in a negative pattern forever. Therefore, don’t be afraid to try new things and take chances in life as you don’t really have too much to lose anyways.

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