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What is cognitive behaviour therapy?

Cognitive behaviour therapy, or CBT is a short-term talking treatment that has a highly practical approach to problem-solving; it aims to change patterns of thinking or behaviour that are behind people's difficulties, and so change the way they feel.

CBT changing people's attitudes and their behaviour

CBT works by changing people's attitudes and their behaviour.The therapies focus on the thoughts, images, beliefs and attitudes that we hold (our cognitive processes) and how this relates to the way we behave, as a way of dealing with emotional problems.

An important advantage of CBT is that it tends to be short, taking three to six months for most emotional problems. Clients attend a session a week, each session lasting either 50 minutes or an hour. During this time, the client and therapist are working together to understand what the problems are and to develop a new strategy for tackling them. CBT introduces them to a set of principles that they can apply whenever they need to, and which will stand them in good stead throughout their lives.

CBT is a form of psychotherapy which combines cognitive and behavioural therapy. Cognitive therapy looks at how our thoughts can create our feelings and mood. Behavioural therapy pays close attention to the relationship between our problems, our behaviour and our thoughts. CBT may focus on what is going on in the present rather than the past, but often the therapy will also look at how thinking patterns may have begun in early childhood and the impact patterns of thinking may have on how we interpret the world as adults.

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