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Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

What is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy?

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy where you work with a counsellor for a few sessions to help you understand and deal with your thoughts and feelings, especially during tough times. CBT looks at how your thoughts, feelings, and actions affect your problems. It aims to make you feel better and cope with things easier.

There are three basic beliefs that form the foundation of CBT:

  • Our thoughts (cognition) help connect our feelings and actions.
  • Incorrect thoughts can cause mental distress and problems.
  • Changing these incorrect thoughts and actions can help reduce mental distress and problems.

When is it used?

CBT is a kind of therapy that works well to address many mental health conditions including depression, anxiety conditions, substance abuse, relationship challenges, and eating disorders to name a few.

What techniques are used in CBT

Challenge and Change Maladaptive Thoughts and Behaviours: Helping people identify and change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours.

Guided Discovery: Helping people find out why they think and act the way they do by asking them questions.

Activity Scheduling: Planning daily activities to feel better and behave positively.

Behavioural Experiments: Trying out new ways of thinking and acting to see if they help.

Structured and Time-Limited Approach: CBT is organised and doesn’t go on forever. It involves working together with a therapist for a set period of time.

Homework Assignments: Doing tasks outside of therapy to practice what’s learned and improve skills.

Understanding CBT

A CBT approach is grounded in the idea that by changing the way we think and behave, we can improve our emotional well-being and our ability to cope with life’s challenges.

Below are the key principles and techniques used in CBT:

Says that how we see things affects how we feel and act, not just the events themselves.

These are our strong beliefs about ourselves, others, and the world, which come from our early experiences.

These are strict, unhelpful rules we live by.

These are bad thoughts that pop up without us wanting them, often seen in depression and anxiety.

Thinking about where problems come from, what sets them off, and what keeps them going. Different ways of thinking about this, like looking at the past or present, help us understand conditions like depression.

Types of CBT

Based on the success of CBT, experts have created other treatments that use its ideas. For example, there’s CBT for sleep problems, for dealing with trauma, and for managing more complex mental health conditions including psychosis.

CBT is also used in schools, hospitals, and other places. It has even led to new types of therapy, like Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), which also focus on thoughts and behaviours.

It is always important to remember that therapies are not one-size fits all. There is a lot of information available therefore it is worthwhile looking into different options and speaking with your trusted healthcare professional about what may best suit you.

Is there research to support CBT?

CBT is a well-established therapy supported by extensive research. Numerous studies, including randomised trials and reviews, endorse its effectiveness. Particularly beneficial for depression, anxiety, and PTSD, CBT is widely recommended by mental health experts and organisations due to its strong evidence base.

Learn More

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Lifeline – Cognitive behavioural therapy 

Visit at to learn more about CBT including what to expect during treatment, benefits, and limitations.



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BABCP – CBT: What’s the Evidence.

Learn more about the evidence supporting the effectiveness of CBT.
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Real Story from the UK: How CBT helped me find happiness
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