Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a form of therapeutic intervention that is used to tackle a range of mental health issues. Unlike behavioural therapies in the past that focused on shaping human behaviour through reinforcements and punishments, CBT works under the assumption that once we are able to change people’s thinking patterns, their problematic behaviours will soon follow. This way, when an individual comes in with overwhelming problems, the therapist can help by breaking down the problems into manageable parts.
History of CBT
When Aaron Beck first introduced the process back in the 1950s, he was working with individuals battling depression and noticed that they seemed to have similar negative thought patterns. These individuals were quick to place the blame on themselves whenever they faced adverse situations, believing that 'This always happens to me.'. Beck decided to target this thought process and aim for his patients to appraise this adverse situation in more optimistic manner. In doing so, they focused more on changing their behaviour and improving their mental health.
What can CBT be Used for?
- Mood disorders: Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder
- Eating disorders: Anorexia, Bulimia
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Substance Abuse, etc.
Benefits of CBT
✽ Gaining control
Mental illness can involve feeling powerless and relying on maladaptive behaviours to give a sense of control. Through CBT, clients realise that although they may not be able to control every single event in your life, they still have control over how they perceive and act on such thoughts.
✽ Helpful with avoidance
CBT is very useful in reducing avoidance behaviour, which can be the cause of the endless cycle of negative thinking.
✽ Short time period, great results
CBT usually requires a fewer number of sessions in comparison to other forms of therapy: between 5 and 20 depending on the situation. CBT is also a very effective option for those who do not require medication. However, effectiveness is also dependent on compliance with treatment and motivation to get better.
Rapport with the therapist is also important in CBT, and mutual understanding between client and therapist can help to identify what the best course for treatment is. This way, clients are more likely to adhere to the goals they set for themselves.