Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is a practical, short-term form of psychotherapy that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem solving.
CBT aims to help people to develop skills and strategies for becoming and staying healthy. Its goal is to change patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind people’s difficulties, and so change the way they feel. CBT focuses on the here-and-now and on the problems that come up in day-to-day life. CBT helps people to examine how they make sense of what is happening around them and how these perceptions affect the way they feel.
Research shows that CBT is one of the most effective treatments for anxiety. It is also an effective treatment for problems such as depression, chronic pain, disordered eating, anger issues, addiction, and low self-esteem (Whyllie, 2010).
CBT is effective in counselling because CBT gives people a new way of understanding and thinking about their problems. It also provides people with the skills to deal with the issues that they are struggling with right now.
In CBT, clients learn to identify, question, and change the thoughts, attitudes and beliefs related to the emotional and behavioural reactions that cause them difficulty.
By monitoring and recording thoughts during upsetting situations, people learn that how they think can contribute to emotional problems such as depression and anxiety. CBT helps to reduce these emotional problems by teaching clients to identify distortions in their thinking, see thoughts as ideas about what is going on, rather than as facts, and stand back from their thinking to consider situations from different viewpoints.