The Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) says cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is ‘ a way of talking about how you think about yourself, the world and other people; and how what you do affects your thoughts and feelings.
‘CBT can help you to change how you think (‘Cognitive’) and what you do (‘Behaviour’). These changes can help you to feel better. Unlike some of the other talking treatments, it focuses on the ‘here and now’ problems and difficulties. Instead of focusing on the causes of your distress or symptoms in the past, it looks for ways to improve your state of mind now’.
CBT, RCPsych continues, can help you to make sense of overwhelming problems by breaking them down into smaller parts. This makes it easier to see how they are connected and how they affect you. These parts are:
- A Situation – a problem, event or difficult situation. From this can follow:
- Physical feelings
Each of these areas can affect the others. How you think about a problem can affect how you feel physically and emotionally.
NHS Choices says CBT is an effective treatment for depression, and explains how it is currently offered through the NHS. (See also online CBT resources below). I had CBT 3 years ago through the NHS Improving Access to Psychological Services Programme (IAPT) and found it helpful. I should perhaps revisit my homework and notes to check I am still using the techniques I was taught.