The following synopsis from the BABCP provides a brief definition of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies are psychological approaches which are based on scientific principles and which research has shown to be effective for a wide range of problems. Client and therapists work together to identify and understand problems in terms of the relationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
The approach usually focuses on difficulties in the here and now, and relies on the therapist and client developing a shared view of the individual’s problem. This then leads to the identification of personalised, time-limited therapy goals and strategies which are continually monitored and evaluated. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapists work with individuals, families and groups. The approaches can be used to help anyone irrespective of ability, culture, race, gender or sexual preference.
CBT is an active, structured therapy, whereby client and therapist work collaboratively together to meet identified goals.
The ultimate aim of CBT is for clients to be their own therapist , therefore a central component of CBT is homework between sessions as this enables the client to practice and master skills out of session. The following are some examples of homework activities : keeping records of moods and thoughts in particular situations, challenging negative thoughts and re evaluating these ( this will have been taught in session), reading suggested material, trying out different responses to situations.
Homework is mutually agreed by client and therapist at the end of each session and will always be relevant to the problems in hand. Progress in therapy is very much dependant on the completion of homework.