Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT is a time-sensitive, structured, present-oriented psychotherapy directed toward solving current problems and teaching clients skills to modify dysfunctional thinking and behaviour.
CBT is a psychotherapy that is based on the cognitive model: the way that individuals perceive a situation is more closely connected to their reaction than the situation itself.
One important part of CBT is helping clients change their unhelpful thinking and behaviour that lead to enduring improvement in their mood and functioning.
CBT uses a variety of cognitive and behavioural techniques, but it isn’t defined by its use of these strategies. At each therapy session, the therapists help clients specify the problems they have encountered during the week or that they expect to encounter in the current week. They then collect information to identify the ideas and behaviours that have interfered with clients’ ability to solve problems themselves. Cognitive behaviour therapists get clients actively engaged in deciding where to start working. Together, they develop an “action plan” or homework for patients (to do during the week) to implement solutions to problems or to make changes in their thinking and actions. This process gets clients actively involved in their own treatment; they begin to recognise that the way to get better is to make small changes in how they think and what they do every day. When treatment ends, clients are able to use the skills and tools they have learned in therapy in their day-to-day lives.