CBT focuses on how you think about the things going on in your life – your thoughts, images, beliefs and attitudes (your cognitive processes) – and how this impacts on the way you behave and deal with emotional problems. It then looks at how you can change any negative patterns of thinking or behaviour that may be causing you difficulties. In turn, this can change the way you feel.
CBT tends to be short, from six weeks to six months. You will usually attend a session once a week, each session lasts 50 minutes. Together with the therapist you will explore what your problems are, and develop a plan for tackling them.
During your sessions, you will learn a set of principles that you can apply whenever you need to. You may find them useful long after you have left therapy. CBT may focus on what is going on in the present rather than the past. However, the therapy may also look at your past, and how your past experiences impact on how you interpret the world now.
CBT can be an effective therapy for a number of problems:
- Anger management
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Chronic pain
- Drug or alcohol problems
- Eating problems
- General health problems
- Habits, such as facial tics
- Mood swings
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Sexual and relationship problems
- Sleep problems.