What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT?
Our ‘cognitions’ are in everyday terms our thoughts, memories, ideas, mental images, beliefs and attitudes. Cognitive therapy is based on the underlying principle that it is the way we think about a situation, rather than the situation itself, which affects how we feel to that situation. The aim of cognitive therapy is to help the person experiencing the emotional difficulty, think about the situation in a less negative but more realistic fashion.
The guiding philosophy of behaviour therapy is that our behaviours over time can affect how we feel in certain situations. The aim in behaviour therapy is to enable individuals to change behaviours that may be harmful or not helpful.
CBT is a combination of cognitive and behaviour therapies. They are often combined because how we behave often reflects how we think about certain things or situations. Feeling depressed or stressed can arise from negative ways of feeling, thinking and behaving. You may be interpreting situations or feelings that occur to you each day in a negative/unrealistic way. If this happens you may find your mood becoming lower or you are becoming more stressed with everyday demands and pressures. The CBT therapist helps you identify the connections between your thoughts and how you feel, and also what you do about them to help you feel more in control of your life and less depressed or stressed.