Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in contrast to many other therapeutic frameworks has both an explicit rationale and an empirically demonstrable success rate. In addition to the wealth of published case histories there are a plethora of controlled studies attesting to the efficacy of CBT interventions with an equally diverse range of psychological and behavioral conditions. (Emmelkamp et al 1992).
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that aims to help a person manage their problems by changing how they think and act. It is a problem solving approach which recognizes that clients have a behavioral difficulty rather than that they are a behavioral problem. It encourages them to talk about how they think in relation to themselves, the world, other people and how what they do affects their thoughts and feelings. CBT can help to change how a person thinks (‘cognitive’) and what they do (‘behavior’), thus helping them to manage difficulties and feel better about life. Unlike most psychotherapies which only work with talk and reflections, CBT regards behavioral acts as primary. Treatment involves clients engaging in personal behavioral experiments, ‘practice makes perfect.’ For many behaviorally based problems such as phobias obsessive compulsive disorder bulimia and the like there simply is no substitute for this way of working. Direct behavioral experience is often the most effective medium for articulating change. Action, that is, sometimes speaks far louder than words.
To benefit fully from CBT, clients need to be committed to the process, maintain any homework agreed such as keeping a diary or undertaking experiments/challenges jointly agreed and/or decided upon between client and counsellor. It can help the client make sense of overwhelming problems by breaking them down into smaller parts. The outcomes of homework are reviewed and feelings discussed at each subsequent session. Most importantly CBT is a collaborative and empowering process in which the client is an active participant. Autonomy: respect for the client’s right to be self-governing BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling & Psychotherapy. A principal goal of this collaborative process is to help clients effectively define problems and gain skills in managing these problems. As in other therapies, CBT also uses other elements of the therapeutic relationship, such as rapport, genuineness, understanding, and empathy.
The number of sessions required varies greatly depending on the presenting issues/problems and objectives, sessions usually lasting from anywhere between six weeks to six months. The client is helped to see how their thoughts and behavior relate to the way they feel, how this might contribute to the problems being experienced and that it is not the situation itself making them unhappy, but how they think about and react to it.
CBT can help clients find ways to change thought patterns and behavior and to solve problems and anxieties better, but it cannot remove the problems.
The skills learnt within CBT are useful, practical and helpful strategies that once learnt can be incorporated into an individual’s life to help them handle difficult situations better when future stresses and difficulties arise. However there is always a risk that the bad feelings associated with the clients problem return, but with CBT skills it should be easier for them to control these. Even after the client is feeling better and sessions have ended, it is important to emphasis the need to practice the skills acquired.
CBT focuses on the individual’s capacity to change themselves their thoughts, feelings and behaviors it can help to manage problems, such as anxiety and depression, so they are less likely to have a negative impact on their life. However because of its structured nature, it may not be suitable...