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The Increasing Popularity of CBT

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 13 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Cbt Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT, is becoming increasingly popular as a reliable form of therapy for a range of psychological issues. Known as a ‘talking therapy’ because it mainly involves talking through issues with a trained counsellor, CBT is available on the NHS through GP referral and in private practices.

Overview of CBT

CBT was developed through the merger of the schools of behavioural and cognitive psychology, whereby the former is focused on our actions and the latter our ‘uncontrolled’ mind. Subsequently, CBT is a way of coming to terms with and changing our thought patterns to enable the patient to deal with particular issues better.

How CBT is Used

As an example of how CBT is used, a patient suffering from an eating disorder may be referred for cognitive behavioural therapy to ascertain the root cause of their issue. Rather than simply saying ‘you need to eat more/less’, a cognitive behavioural therapist will talk to the patient over probably a number of weekly sessions. The therapist does not ‘give the patient answers’, rather they aim to help the patient understand why they act in that way and work on how to change those negative patterns of actions and thoughts.

CBT can also be used as an anger management tool. An example of how cognitive behavioural therapy could be used in this way is that the psychologist would try to ‘re-educate’ the patient in how to deal with their flash points, giving them new ways to handle certain scenarios while also dealing with the reasons why the patient may react in this way.

How is CBT Quantified?

It is clear that CBT can be used in many ways. As a therapy that aims to ‘unravel’ dysfunctional emotions, behaviours and beliefs, CBT is goal orientated and relatively systematic. This means that, although the patient’s family may not necessarily be able to see CBT as a ‘quick fix’ solution, the trained CBT therapist is gradually working on breaking down these negative thoughts or views in order for the patient to be able to think more clearly, rationally and positively.

One to One and Group CBT

CBT is generally performed on a one to one basis and is highly confidential. There are also some group therapy sessions available and sometimes the patient’s family/parents/spouses are encouraged to come to one or more sessions. The therapist has to be very careful that confidences are not broken in this scenario and this family session is usually carefully prepared for the maximum benefit as it can be very stressful for the patient to confront certain issues.

As a quantifiable form of therapy, it is not surprising that CBT is growing increasingly popular. It is effective for all sorts of issues relating to mood, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, personal trauma, substance abuse and psychotic issues and an individual can relatively easily gain a referral from their GP and, although waiting lists can be up to six months for the initial session, emergency appointments are available.

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