Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive and behavioural therapies are usually short-term treatments, lasting between 8 and 20 sessions. CBT is different from many other therapeutic approaches in that it focuses on how people’s thoughts (i.e., cognitions), emotions, behaviours, and physiology are connected and affect one another.

Since all of these elements are linked in the CBT perspective, therapists are able to intervene in any one of them.  Clients learn, for example, how to challenge and change negative thoughts and, by doing so, stop the damaging influences they can have on emotions, behaviour and how they physically feel. Clients also learn how their behaviours may be making problems worse and are taught skills to help them behave in ways more in line with their goals.

To illustrate how CBT might work, take the example of an individual who wants to meet new people, but believes that she is unlikable. She might think, “nobody likes me,” or “I have no good qualities.” These thoughts are likely to cause negative emotions such as sadness, shame, or maybe even anxiety. Further, as a result of her thoughts, she might engage in behaviours that go against her goal of meeting new people, such as staying at home or avoiding conversations. Physically, she might feel sluggish, fatigued or irritable.

With the help of a CBT therapist, this individual would learn how her thoughts contribute to her difficult situation. She would learn to challenge her negative thoughts by examining how true they are and testing new and fresh perspectives. She would also learn ways to change her behaviours in ways that increase her chances of overcoming her problem. Importantly, CBT is not about being overly optimistic or always “looking at the bright side.” Rather, it is about being realistic and objective in the ways we think about ourselves, others, the future, and the world.

In CBT, therapists and clients work together with a mutual understanding that the therapist has the theoretical and technical expertise, while the client is in the position of being the true expert on themselves and their experiences. Goals are set to resolve present-day problems. Clients actively participate in treatment in and out of session, often through homework assignments.

CBT is an evidence-based therapy, meaning that it has been proven to be effective through rigorous scientific research. Clinicians at EBT3 are trained in CBT and have experience treating clients with a variety of problems and difficulties, including depression and anxiety. For more information about CBT, or to find an experienced psychologist, please contact us.