Need to take control of your thinking and move forward? Try Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Is everything getting too much and you’re not sure which way to turn or what to do for the best?

Are your thoughts and feelings so negative that you feel trapped and unable to move forward?  Are you trying to deal with anxiety or depression and your persistent self-criticism is just making you feel worse?  Or perhaps you’re convinced that whatever you try and do will just go wrong, so why bother?

How to stop thinking negatively?

Applying Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is one way of breaking a negative cycle of thinking.  It can help change how you think (cognitive) and therefore how you act (behaviour).  Instead of focussing on your past problems CBT is a talking therapy that helps you deal with your current difficulties by showing you how to break down your problems into smaller, more manageable parts.  In doing so, you learn that all you do, think and feel is interconnected and changing negative patterns will help you to feel better.

Other types of counselling and talking therapies such as CBT are becoming much more widespread and can help with many conditions including anxiety disorders and depression, eating and sleep disorders, phobias and problems with family and relationships.  CBT can also help run alongside medication as a form of treatment.

Research has shown that talking therapies such as CBT are very effective in helping with anxiety and depression.  You can get this type of psychological therapy, including CBT, on the NHS without a referral from your GP.

What happens during therapy?

CBT is a practical treatment which re-trains the brain to think in another way.  A therapist will try and understand any negative thinking patterns and will challenge them whilst teaching how to replace them with more positive ones.

CBT concentrates on specific issues and how best to deal with them, it is most beneficial to people who need help with present difficulties.  MIND, the mental health charity tells us that if someone does not have a particular area of their present life with which they need help and they are just feeling low with no definite symptoms, then CBT may not be suitable for them.

CBT does not focus on your past problems, explains The Royal College of Psychiatrists, but instead tries to find practical ways of improving your mental health by looking at your present problems.

Unlike other talking therapies, sessions of CBT may not last as many weeks but tend to consist of anything from five to 20 weekly sessions, each lasting one hour.  However, in order for CBT to work successfully, you will be asked to practise the techniques you’ve learned outside of the sessions as the eventual aim of the therapy is to teach you to apply these skills to your daily life.

The British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) states that the goal is for the patient to recognise they should give themselves as much credit as their psychotherapist for their improvement.

Where to go for CBT

Your first port of call is your GP.  If after discussing your problem they believe CBT is suitable for you, they can refer you; although you may also be able to self-refer.

If you wish to find a private practitioner, the BABCP keeps a register of all accredited therapists in the UK

Useful information

Choosing a Counsellor or Therapist

NHS Factsheet on CBT

British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP)

The Royal College of Psychiatrists – CBT


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