What is CBT ? 

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the combination of two approaches that are complementary:

• Cognitive: based on the principle that the way we think about or assess the facts that happens to us determines how we feel. For example: a pessimist tends to see everything that happens to them through ”grey lenses”, which leads to feelings of sadness, worry and distress. In this case, the therapist works with the patient to find dysfunctional thought patterns that are causing discomfort and pain and what possible alternatives there are to understanding the situation more realistically. This approach was developed by the American psychologist Aaron Beck.

• Behavioural: it aims to identify and understand general patterns of behaviour through the analysis of the person’s life history and identification of behaviours that may be unproductive and / or cause distress. Both therapist and patient work together to identify these patterns and look for more productive and healthier behaviours. This approach was created by the American psychologist John B. Watson (1879-1958) and improved by BF Skinner (1904-1990).

This psychotherapeutic approach is widely used in the United Kingdom, especially in the National Health Service (NHS). This is due to the fact that CBT tends to produce faster results than other psychotherapeutic approaches and also because CBT is evidence-based. This means that its efficacy is grounded on evidence taken from scientific research.

Features of CBT

• Treatment of shorter duration in comparison to other approaches;
• Clearly defined objectives;
• All aspects of treatment are explained and discussed with the patient;
• Patient and therapist work in a cooperative relationship in which both plan strategies to address the problems;
• The patient plays an active role and is co-responsible for the treatment;
• Practical techniques are taught and practised for symptoms relief;
• Homework: discussed and agreed with the patient, it aims to generate or intensify the process of change. Activities may be the training of exercises taught in sessions or other activities. The therapy process not only occurs during the sessions and in the presence of the therapist, but also between sessions.