CBT is a short-term, goal-oriented therapy that aims to promote change by helping people to notice links between their thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It typically involves one-hour weekly sessions lasting in the region of 12-20 weeks.
CBT is one of the most widely studied and evidence-based treatment approaches for children and adults. It is used to treat various anxiety and mood-related issues, including depression, anxiety disorders and anger.
CBT is also used to treat panic attacks, phobias, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Social Anxiety, Health Anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The basis of CBT suggests that situations and events create a series of thoughts, emotions and behaviours that ultimately affect our overall well-being. Actively challenging and changing these thoughts, emotions and behaviours is the goal of CBT, to change how a person feels and experiences life overall.
Core Components of CBT
Understanding how a person (child or adult) has got to where they are now – for example, what is causing their specific problem, what is helpful and unhelpful, how other people react, how the problem is impacting their lives.
Identifying behaviours that keep the problem going. For example, many people avoid something that causes them anxiety, which in turn maintains their anxiety about the specific issue. This is because they are not faced with the anxiety-provoking object or situation to acquire new learning or to test their fears. In the short-term, this alleviates anxiety, but in the long-term, the problem persists.
Identifying thoughts that keep the problem going. These can include unhelpful thoughts about the self, other people, the world or the future.
Challenging these behaviours and thoughts using specific techniques, exercises and experiments, and using homework between sessions.
Consolidating learning and ensuring long-term psychological well-being.
Psychotherapy is a form of therapy that helps people to understand and resolve difficulties by increasing their awareness of their inner world, as well as how they relate to others. Usually people attend one-hour sessions over a longer period of time.
It aims to consider how past experiences have affected a person's overall development and current functioning, with the ultimate goal of improving an individual's awareness and knowledge of themselves, their coping strategies, as well as how they relate to others around them.
Examples of difficulties treated with Psychotherapy can include emotion and relationship difficulties or complex anxiety and mood-related problems. However, it can also be helpful for individuals who have lost meaning in their lives or who are hoping to understand themselves on a better level.
People can also attend Psychotherapy due to loss of interest in previously-enjoyed activities, difficulties concentrating, problems forming satisfactory relationships or dissatisfaction at home or work.