Understanding Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Shelley Whitbread, Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist at Priory Hospital Hayes Grove explains Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a fast growing and widely recognised treatment used to help people deal with a variety of psychological difficulties. The evaluation of CBT has shown a 50% success rate in treating anxiety and depression - significantly higher than other talking therapies and studies have also shown that it can be more effective than medication alone when treating such disorders. It is for these reasons, together with the time efficiency of treatment, which have led the government to invest significant resources in training over three thousand CBT therapists in recent years.
What is CBT?
Founded by Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck, CBT identifies the link between our thoughts, our behaviour and our mood. Therapy involves helping people to become more aware of their often dysfunctional and unhelpful thought patterns which can lead to maladaptive behaviours and negative emotions. It also attempts to help patients understand and adjust underlying belief patterns which maintain these dysfunctional thinking patterns and behaviours. By teaching people to challenge cognitions and modify their behaviour, this can then lead to a significant improvement on mood.
What is it used to treat?
CBT is used to treat a number of psychological disorders including:
- Anger problems
- Body dysmorphic disorder
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Chronic pain
- Eating disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Panic disorder
- Personality disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Psychotic disorders
- Relationship problems
- Social phobia
CBT is a structured, action-oriented and problem solving approach which helps people to manage their thoughts, behaviour and mood more effectively. In general patients will meet with their therapist on a weekly basis for a period of roughly 6 – 20 sessions which will follow a structured process including the completion of homework and behavioural experiments.
What do we offer at the Priory?
At the Priory Hospital Hayes Grove we offer both group and individual cognitive behaviour therapy for a wide range of difficulties including anxiety, depression, anger and eating disorders etc. Groups are based on a CBT approach and include psycho-education together with tools and strategies to help patients manage their behaviours and mood more effectively.