Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) consists of goal-oriented, systematic procedures which focus on the ‘here and now’ and on recognising negative thought patterns in order to alleviate symptoms. CBT comprises of a combination of approaches including cognitive, rational-behavioural and multimodal therapies and is sometimes used in conjunction with mood-stabilising medication and/or hypnotherapy.
As the name implies, CBT concentrates on thoughts, feelings and behaviours by questioning and testing the cognitions, assumptions, evaluations and beliefs that lie beneath surface awareness and which might well be unhelpful or unrealistic. The client is required to be committed to the work in partnership with the therapist and will be given exercises and tasks to work on between sessions. Relaxation, mindfulness and distraction techniques are commonly included.
It is recognised that CBT is a process, so that even where clients have learned to recognise counter-productive mental processes, it may take time and endeavour to replace or restructure these dysfunctional ways of being.