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Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a common treatment method that many people have heard of. It is helpful for many different conditions, and here we explain what it is and how you can benefit from CBT treatment.

What is CBT?

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based treatment that can help with many different conditions. Evidence-based means that research has found that it has given good results. It is also the method that the National Board of Health and Welfare most often recommends in its guidelines.

CBT is an active treatment method in which change can be achieved by focusing on thoughts, feelings and behaviours. The method actually consists of different tools that are adapted to the problem you want to treat.

You work on homework and get help to create lasting change. It is a short-term therapy, which means that you try to focus on different goals during a limited number of sessions.

What set our therapist apart was her genuine empathy and personal insight. Not only did she possess a deep understanding of neurodiversity, but she also shared personal experiences that resonated with us, creating an instant connection and fostering a sense of trust!

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What is CBT?

CBT stands for Cognitive (thought), Behavioural (action) and Therapy (treatment). The method is based on learning theory, which assumes that we learn things in interaction with our environment and that this learning can be more or less functional based on our history.

In a CBT treatment, you analyze specific situations to understand how they affect your well-being. You are given information about different conditions and the psychologist or therapist helps you change your approach to thoughts and feelings to create patterns that make you feel better in the long run. Behaviours are changed so that you act in a way that leads to better consequences and a better quality of life.

Newer forms of CBT work more on acceptance, compassion and mindfulness, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) and Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT).

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What can CBT treatment help with?

CBT can help with various conditions such as:

  • anxiety and worry
  • depression
  • sleep problems
  • stress and exhaustion
  • phobias such as social phobia, fear of injections, vomiting, spider phobia and fear of flying.
  • trauma and ptsd
  • ocd and compulsions
  • relationship problems and low self-esteem
  • neuropsychiatric problems such as ADHD

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These problems can vary in severity from mild to severe. Primary care treats mild to moderate problems while psychiatry focuses on more severe problems. CBT can be used in all forms, but the treatment is often adapted; for lighter problems, the treatment is usually shorter and for more severe ones longer.

At Lavendla we have therapists and psychologists who have experience of working with all levels of difficulty.

12 common questions and answers about CBT

What is CBT?

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based treatment that focuses on thoughts, feelings and behaviors to achieve change.

How does CBT work?

In a CBT treatment, you work with different tools such as cognitive and behavioural techniques. You learn to question your thoughts and change your behaviour so that you act in a way that has better consequences. Newer forms of CBT also work with acceptance and mindfulness.

What can be treated with CBT?

There are many problems that can be treated with CBT as it is a method based on thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Common conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress and sleep problems can be treated, as well as other conditions such as ADHD, relationship problems and phobias.

How long does CBT treatment take?

Treatment time depends on the severity of the problem, with mild to moderate problems improving within a few weeks, while more severe problems may require longer treatment.

What methods and techniques are used in CBT?

CBT consists of a number of different tools and techniques to change thoughts, feelings and behaviours. These include behavioural analysis, cognitive restructuring and exposure, but there are also other techniques.

What is the basis of CBT?

CBT is based on learning theory which assumes that we learn things in interaction with our environment and that this learning can be more or less functional based on our history.

Can you get CBT online?

It is possible to receive treatment digitally via video. Research has shown that the outcome of the treatment is equivalent to meeting in person.

Are there any disadvantages to CBT?

CBT has proven to be an effective treatment method where you get results relatively quickly. If you work with exposure, you may feel a temporary increase in fear, but this often decreases over time. Feelings are not dangerous and if you feel unsure, talk to your psychologist.

What is Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT)?

ACT is a newer form of CBT that focuses more on acceptance and mindfulness-based techniques. It also works on values and living a more meaningful life based on them.

What is a CBT therapist?

A CBT therapist is either a licensed psychologist who is trained in CBT or a therapist who has completed Step 1 in CBT, which is a shorter training course in CBT. Other professions, such as doctors and social workers, also sometimes train to become CBT therapists.

Where can I turn if I need help?

At Lavendla, we have experienced psychologists and therapists who work with CBT and can help you feel better. If you have thoughts of self-harm or suicide, call emergency services immediately on 000 or Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 (24 hour service).

What does CBT treatment involve?

Seeking help is a big step towards better health, it is a positive thing to decide to take control of how you feel. Here is an overview of the steps usually involved in CBT treatment.

Step 1: An initial assessment session

The first meeting with your psychologist or therapist is an assessment to review your mental and physical health. You may be asked questions about your life situation, feelings, thoughts and behaviours. You may also be asked to complete assessment forms.

Step 2: Goal setting and valued direction

This is where you and your therapist set concrete goals for the therapy, both short and long term. It can define which areas of your life are most affected by your wellbeing and how you would like to change them. Sometimes an exercise of valued direction is done.

Step 4: Treatment with different techniques and tools

This is the start of the actual treatment phase, which involves exercises and homework assignments aimed at giving you the tools to overcome and deal with the problem you are suffering from.

Step 5: Monitoring and evaluation

Treatment is monitored regularly to see how well the therapy is working. If necessary, the treatment plan can be adjusted or renewed.

Step 6: Ending and looking ahead

As the therapy comes to an end, it is time to reflect on the progress made. You will also receive a maintenance plan on how to use the tools and strategies you have learned in the future.

If you or someone close to you is seeking professional help, don’t hesitate to book a session with one of our qualified psychologists or therapists.

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Written by melissa

Melissa is a Certified Kinesiologist who focusses on a client-centred, holistic and integrative approach to health and wellness. She has extensive experience in managing stress, anxiety, fears, phobias and trauma in her clients. Melissa uses visual and auditory feedback to directly access and solve the cause of psychological stressors in the body so that optimal well-being and balance is achieved.