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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

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Treatment Approaches >> Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Photo of Angela Holmes.

By Trafalgar’s Editorial Team
This Article is Clinically Reviewed By Angela Holmes, M.A., R.P.

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a structured and time-limited type of psychotherapy

With CBT, therapist and client work together to tackle their destructive urges. By this way, it is easier to come up with preventive strategies for any possible event in the future.

Clients and therapists focus on the present, while at the same time identifying the starting place of the clients’ distress and symptoms.

There is also a focus on how clients view themselves, the world, and the future, as well as learning emotional consequences to events are mostly created by the clients’ belief system and the emotional disturbances are caused by clients’ unfounded irrational beliefs. When clients identify such beliefs, they can learn to dispute them by challenging them rationally.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Techniques

In CBT, clients learn cognitive techniques to identify and modify their negative thoughts and cognitive distortions.

These techniques can include examining the evidence, reframing, relaxation techniques, graded task assignments, exposure, guided discovery, and generating alternatives. The clients learn various self-monitoring tools and complete homework between sessions to solidify the skills learned in sessions. Through CBT, clients learn to change how they think (cognition) and what they do (behavioural), and this has an impact on how they feel.

Clients can participate in CBT individually or ingroups with a therapist, through self-help books, or on computer based programs. Therapy is not “done to” the clients and does not prove client wrong and therapist right. There are no unhelpful debates, but it is instead a skillful collaboration between clients and therapist where clients discover healthy and adaptive alternatives. CBT is probably most famous for its positive effect in the treatment of anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, substance abuse, and addictive behaviours.

CBT is very popular because it is simple, effective, and can produce results in a relatively short time. It can be used as an alternative to medication, or as an addition to medication.

CBT is client-centered in that the therapists provide clients with the tools they need to make effective change in their lives. The treatment can be adapted to clients’ unique problems. Clients with addiction problems have found CBT to help them cope with their difficulties.

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