CBT, as it’s otherwise known, is a type of therapy that can be incredibly useful in addressing negative thought patterns, distressing emotions, and destructive patterns of behaviour. It is a technique that may be used in conjunction with many other types of therapy in order to address specific issues. CBT can help you identify what needs to be changed in your life, and through working collaboratively with therapists and others you can begin to instigate those changes in your life. 

What Is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?

CBT is a type of psychotherapy that is a structured, short-term approach. This specific technique looks to emphasise the importance of how our thoughts and emotions affect our behaviour. People are typically asked to focus on their thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes and in therapeutic sessions will attempt to understand how these relate to problematic behaviours in their life. This allows you to develop healthy coping strategies when dealing with emotions and challenging life situations.

The principles of cognitive behavioural therapy are there to help you deal with obstructive thought processes and unhelpful learned patterns which often contribute to psychological problems. This form of therapy is designed to give you back control, allowing you to make positive changes by helping you better understand and recognise destructive thought and behaviour patterns. 

Different Types of CBT

Over the years, different types of cognitive behavioural therapies have been developed in order to help address the many types of disorders including PTSD, OCD and other types of anxiety disorders. The practices share the same features, whilst using different therapeutic techniques. 

Types of cognitive behavioural therapy include:

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT):  ACT is a mindful approach that focuses on accepting the hardships in life such as negative thoughts and emotions and utilises a set of techniques to gain awareness
  • Cognitive Therapy: focuses on present thinking, behaviour and communication with an emphasis on recognising and addressing problematic thinking patterns, emotional responses, and behaviours
  • Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT): support oriented, cognitive-based, collaborative talk therapy that aims to improve client’s responses to emotional stimuli by accepting their life challenges. 
  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MCBT): similar to the name, it MCBT combines mindfulness techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises and stretching, with cognitive therapy, to focus on the present moment and increase awareness of automatic reactions that may lead to emotional distress
  • Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT): focuses on problem-solving techniques, cognitive restructuring techniques, and coping strategies in order to help identify irrational beliefs and negative thought patterns that may lead to emotional or behavioural distress
  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT): aims to address the needs of clients with severe trauma or difficulties related to trauma

The ABCDE model of CBT

The ABCDE model is at the centre of CBT, and can be summarised as follows:

Activating Event – this describes an event which triggers automatic thoughts, resulting in emotional consequences

Belief – these are the automatic thoughts triggered by the event

Consequence – this is how you feel about an event based on your interpretation or perception

Disputation – this is where you are encouraged to dispute the automatic thought

Effective new belief – shown how to produce more rational thoughts

The idea is that a negative activating event leads directly to unhappy consequences on the part of the person who experiences the event. CBT holds that it is not the activating event that leads to unhappy consequences, but rather our beliefs and automatic thoughts surrounding the event. CBT holds that if we change our belief about the activating event, we can also change the emotional consequences of that event.

Using this model, your therapist will tell you to identify any activating events that trigger these automatic thoughts, which ultimately lead to negative emotional responses. CBT techniques then teach you how to manage such thoughts by taking the time to assess their validity. 

On occasion, you might find evidence which supports your thought process, however, your therapist is likely to discover evidence which also counters your beliefs. You are then taught to adopt new beliefs that don’t lead to negative emotions or reactions. 

The CBT technique divides these beliefs into three separate categories:

Inference/Automatic thoughts – these are thoughts that often unconsciously arise and so and not challenged

Core belief/Schemas – these beliefs help shape the clients’ identify. These beliefs are shaped during childhood and reinforced during adulthood

Evaluation – How we feel about ourselves as a result of inferences and core beliefs

How CBT Works?

A therapist and client will work together to better understand your issues. This will help them develop a treatment plan aimed at addressing any problematic thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Gradual exposure to fearful situations may be used during cognitive behavioural therapy sessions to help you slowly learn how to use healthier coping strategies. Homework assignments may include readings, writing projects, or tasks that are used alongside the sessions to reinforce and build upon the focus of each week. This type of therapy is completely personalised and adapted to suit your specific needs. 

CBT can help an individual to:

  • to recognise and accept harmful thoughts and emotions
  • Understand other people’s incentives
  • Gain self-confidence
  • Learn how to cope with stressful situations in a healthy and constructive manner
  • Learn how to face fears and overcome them
  • Practice remaining calm in challenging situations

What To Expect in a CBT Session?

Cognitive behavioural therapy is considered a short-term treatment in comparison to other forms of addiction therapy. The number of sessions will vary for each person and your therapist will have to evaluate your concerns and issues  before advising you on how many appointments you will require. Once this has been established, you will then work together to  create a personalised treatment plan and a list of goals for the sessions.

A typical course of CBT treatment can include around 15 one hour sessions. Again, this will depend on your therapist and what they recommend. The sessions will usually follow a structured agenda, with your therapist often focussing on specific techniques or skills to help you overcome destructive habits and allow you to implement healthier coping strategies. These sessions can be done one-to-one or within a group depending on your preference. 

CBT and Addiction Treatment

CBT is designed to help you exercise personal responsibility for your addiction, rather than accept the role of victim. This is one of many steps involved in CBT for addiction treatment. It also helps in dismantling denial as well as the development of self-awareness and positive insight into one’s addiction. These elements combined usually results in a major change in attitude. CBT can help you recognise negative thought processes as they occur, allowing you to manage them with the appropriate strategies. The goal is that eventually, you will have a variety of skills to take with you and apply to everyday life. 

CBT at CATCH Recovery

If you’re looking for CBT sessions in the South East, CATCH Recovery can help. Our addiction specialists are fully trained in evidence-based therapies such as CBT among others. Our therapists work together with you to identify which strategies work for you. 

You can call our admissions team for your free addiction screening, and they will be able to advise you on the next steps. 

Our outpatient clinic is based in South West London, which is accessible from anywhere in the UK. If you need support but don’t live in the South East of England, you may benefit from the tele-health services we offer. If you require residential rehab, we also provide referrals to rehabs in the UK and Ireland. Call us today to discuss the different options that are available.