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Cognitive behavioural therapy

(CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.

It is most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for other mental and physical health problems.
CBT cannot remove your problems, but it can help you deal with them in a more positive way. It is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle.
CBT aims to help you crack this cycle by breaking down overwhelming problems into smaller parts and showing you how to change these negative patterns to improve the way you feel.

Unlike some other talking treatments, CBT deals with your current problems, rather than focusing on issues from your past. It looks for practical ways to improve your state of mind on a daily basis.

When does CBT help?

CBT has been shown to help with many different types of problems. These include: anxiety, depression, panic, phobias (including agoraphobia and social phobia), stress, bulimia, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and psychosis. CBT may also help if you have difficulties with anger, a low opinion of yourself or physical health problems, like pain or fatigue.

How effective is CBT?

  • 1) It is one of the most effective treatments for conditions where anxiety or depression is the main problem.
  • 2) It is the most effective psychological treatment for moderate and severe depression.

3) It is as effective as antidepressants for many types of depression

How long will it last?

A course may be from 6 weeks to 6 months. It will depend on the type of problem and how it is working for you. The availability of CBT varies between different areas and there may be a waiting list for treatment.

Problem with CBT

  • 1) CBT is not a quick fix. A therapist is like a personal trainer that advises and encourages - but cannot 'do' it for you.
  • 2) If you are feeling low, it can be difficult to concentrate and get motivated.
  • 3) To overcome anxiety, you need to confront it. This may lead you to feel more anxious for a short time.
  • 4) A good therapist will pace your sessions. You decide what you do together, so you stay in control.

what happens during cbt session?

You will usually have a session with a therapist once a week or once every two weeks. The course of treatment will usually last for between five and 20 sessions, with each session lasting 30-60 minutes.

During the sessions, you will work with your therapist to break down your problems into their separate parts – such as your thoughts, physical feelings and actions.

You and your therapist will analyse these areas to work out if they are unrealistic or unhelpful and to determine the effect they have on each other and on you. Your therapist will then be able to help you work out how to change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours.

After working out what you can change, your therapist will ask you to practise these changes in your daily life and you will discuss how you got on during the next session..

The eventual aim of therapy is to teach you to apply the skills you have learnt during treatment to your daily life. This should help you manage your problems and stop them having a negative impact on your life – even after your course of treatment finishes.