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What is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy?

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

CBT is a form of talking therapy which can be used to treat a variety of mental health difficulties. It is a form of psychotherapy treatment which is focused upon short term goals. The goal of CBT is to change patterns of thinking or behaviours that are behind a person’s difficulties with the hope that this will positively result in the way that they are feeling.



Background to CBT


CBT is an approach primarily developed by Aaron Beck (1921). Beck suggested that a person's reaction to specific upsetting thoughts may contribute to abnormality. Beck explained that individuals experience ‘automatic’ thoughts. Automatic thoughts can either be comforting or upsetting in nature but are automatically provoked by different situations. Beck suggested that the thoughts that we experience ultimately impact the way that we act and feel.


Core principles of CBT


CBT suggests that individuals appraise situations or events in their life through filters. The filters that an individual uses are a means for sorting and interpreting information. Beck suggested that filters were either predisposed physiologically or occurred because of early life experiences.


Cognitive model

The model for CBT works upon the basis that an individual's thoughts create their feelings, feelings create behaviours, and behaviours create thoughts. This cycle then continuously keeps going round. Based on the cyclical nature of thoughts, feelings and behaviours, CBT promotes targeting different aspects to break the cycle. For example, identifying negative beliefs can help them to be changed to positive which results in new functional behaviour. CBT aims to help an individual identify and evaluate their thoughts, modify any inaccurate or unhelpful thoughts to support the examination and modification of emotions and behaviours.


How does CBT differ from other therapies?


One defining characteristic of CBT is its pragmatic nature. CBT helps to identify specific problems and then aims to try and solve them by following a structured method of discussion. Unlike other forms of therapy, CBT does not encourage talking freely, instead it focuses on a specific problem and sets goals in relation to this problem. CBT’s focus is on how an individual thinks and feels now, rather than considering or attempting to solve issues from the past. Another distinctive feature of CBT is the collaborative approach encouraged between the therapist and client. During CBT a therapist does not tell you what to do, they instead work with you to find solutions to the problems that you have identified.


If you feel that you or a young person you know needs further support, and may benefit from one-to one therapy, the team at bMindful would be able to offer that support. Please contact 0161 510 0111 for more information.


About bMindful Psychology


Our priority at bMindful is to help children and young people improve their emotional and psychological well-being. We offer a friendly and confidential space where the individual can explore their feelings with a trusted adult. Importantly they can have immediate access to a range of therapies to support a wide range of mental health conditions, communication styles and challenges.


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