What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a relatively short term, focused approach to the treatment of many types of emotional, behavioural and psychiatric problems. The application of CBT varies according to the problem being addressed, but is essentially a collaborative and individualised program that helps individuals to identify unhelpful thoughts and behaviours and learn or relearn healthier skills and habits. CBT has been practised widely for more than 30 years. It has been researched extensively, and has demonstrated effectiveness with a variety of emotional psychological and psychiatric difficulties. It is also continually evolving, and third wave CBT therapies such as Mindfulness Based Cogntiive Therapy (MBCT), Acceptance and Committment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Schema Therapy and others are increasingly being used for a variety of emotional, behavioural and psychiatric problems.
The benefits of CBT
CBT has been extensively investigated in rigorous clinical trials and has empirical support.
CBT is structured, goal oriented, and focuses on immediate difficulties as well as long term strategies and requires active involvement by the client.
CBT is flexible, individualised, and can be adapted to a wide range of individuals and a variety of settings.
Does CBT work?
CBT is one of the most established and researched psychological therapies for emotional, psychological and psychiatric dysfunction. For some problems, such as anxiety and depression, CBT is as effective as medication and can also enhance the effects of medication. The results of CBT are long-term, and you can keep using what you have learned in therapy to approach other problems in your life.
In particular, CBT has demonstrated effectiveness with individuals experiencing the following problems:
- Generalised anxiety
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- Eating disorders
- Brain Injury
- Somatic Disorders
- Sexual Dysfunction
- Couples/marital problems
- Social Anxiety
- Anger and Stress Management
- Child Anxiety Disorders and Child Depression
- Child behaviour problems
CBT is particularly useful in treating the problems listed above where you request a practical method of treatment for a specific problem rather than “wanting to understand yourself better”; are able to consider psychological causes of problems; and are able to be actively involved in the therapy process and will practice skills between sessions.
Australian Association for Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy: http://www.aacbt.org/
Better Health Channel: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Cognitive_behaviour_therapy
MoodGYM; A free resource to teach individual’s CBT skills to help them to overcome anxiety and depression: https://moodgym.anu.edu.au/