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What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is one of the most talked about methods of therapy today! But why is that? What makes CBT universally helpful for people struggling with their mental health? What is CBT useful for, and what does CBT treatment look like? We will answer all of those frequently asked questions in our blog today, so if you’re interested in all things CBT, keep reading!

What does CBT stand for?

As you probably already guessed from the title of this blog, CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and its definition is closely related to its name! CBT treatment is rooted in the belief that our cognitions (thoughts) affect our emotions, which affect our behaviours; so, it’s imperative in CBT treatment that one understands and reflects on what their core beliefs are and how these may be impacting all other areas of their life.

As mentioned, a large component of CBT is it’s focus on your thoughts, and these thoughts are usually separated into some key categories:

  • Automatic Thoughts:

    • These thoughts are extremely reactive, meaning you experience them quickly and without rational thought. These thoughts are your mind’s immediate reaction to what is happening around you. In the same way, a doctor would tap your knee and your lower leg would raise, these thoughts are a reflex.

  • Conscious Thoughts:

    • These thoughts take much more awareness than our automatic thoughts. These are the thoughts that we work through and rationalize before forming fully, and likely are what we have when we are thinking about something important like a choice that would affect a relationship, for example.

  • Schemas:

    • Schemas are also called ‘core beliefs’ in CBT, and it is likely you will spend a lot of time uncovering your core beliefs with your therapist if you are proceeding with CBT treatment. Schemas, or core beliefs, are shaped through your life’s experiences and are believed to be the root cause of every decision (conscious thought) and every reaction (automatic thought) you have. Think of schemas like your own personal rule book for viewing the world, whether you’re consciously aware of the rules or not.

What does CBT treatment look like?

CBT is a time-sensitive, highly structured form of therapy. It is not usually long-term, as most CBT treatments are complete within 12 to 20 sessions, depending on your personal needs of course.

CBT models can be adapted to meet any number of needs, so while it is a structured form of therapy and time-sensitive, the interventions, techniques, and activities your therapist may vary greatly depending on your concerns and goals.

CBT often requires the completion of some homework or take-home activities. There also may be some activities your therapist asks you to complete during the session, with their help guiding you through it. These activities can look like anything from worksheets and tables to role-playing exercises and mindfulness practices.

Is CBT right for me?

CBT may be the right choice for you if you are someone who is interested in finding practical, take-home ways to manage your mental health. One of the main goals most CBT treatments have is that the client can become their own therapist, using the tools and techniques learned in therapy to prevent relapse and manage their mental health on their own.

CBT is proven to be effective in treating anxiety and depression, but it can also be useful for a range of other mental health concerns such as:

  • Eating disorders

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

  • PTSD

  • Phobias

  • Substance use disorders

If you’re interested in learning more about CBT and seeing if CBT is right for you, you can schedule a free 15-minute consultation with one of our psychotherapists today! Click the link below to view our highly qualified practitioners, and put your mental health first today.



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