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CBT is an evidenced-based talking therapy, clinically and statistically proven to modify behaviour and help overcome symptoms on many mental health disorders and common distresses in life. 


CBT is an evidenced-based form of talk therapy, it’s clinically and statistically proven to modify behaviour and help overcome symptoms of many mental health disorders and common distresses in life. 


As CBT is evidenced to help people with a wide range of issues, it is the preferred choice of psychological therapeutic intervention within the Health Services in Ireland and the UK.  


CBT is a psychological therapeutic approach concluding that we ‘feel what we think’. Our thoughts determine what we feel and are associated to our behavioural response and reaction whilst experiencing that emotion and the physical symptoms of that emotion. CBT believes we are conditioned to think in certain ways, due to what we have learned from our early childhood years and through our life experiences, creating our own unique belief systems, irrational thought patterns and assumptions. These beliefs about ourselves, others, the world, influence our thoughts, decisions and how we interact, and respond emotionally.



CBT focuses on re-defining unhelpful thoughts into healthy thinking patterns, improving how we feel and ultimately respond in our behaviour. Learning through CBT techniques how your thoughts inter-relate to your emotional and behavioural response. 


· Helping you recognise your triggers

· Acknowledge your thought processes

· Understand why you think a certain way

· Challenge,  re-define your thinking patterns

· Retrain your brain

· Create new alternative thinking patterns

· Results in feeling different

· Change in responsive behaviour

· Practising ways to cope with triggering situations


Through working collaboratively with the CBT Therapist, you learn how your brain tricks you into thinking the worst outcomes. Helping you overcome negative and intrusive thoughts and beliefs, and feeling more emotionally stable, and improving negative behavioural patterns.​ CBT helps puts the pieces of our mind jigsaw together.



Traditionally, CBT focused on modifying thought patterns, and behavioural change, whilst also addressing the emotional responses, and encouraging healthy emotions. CBT methods range from examining negative automatic thoughts, safety behaviours, thinking patterns, beliefs and assumptions, using techniques such as imagery, behavioural experiments, problem solving, and recording thoughts. More current CBT techniques are drawn from evidence based psychological therapies to accept and understanding thoughts without judgement, to assess the relationship between our thoughts and personal experiences, how we respond to certain situations, and understand thought processes and their functions.  


Some examples are compassion focused therapy to help with critical thinking, and developing self-esteem. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as an alternative way to accept our thoughts and situations without m6


CBT has been evidenced through research to help manage and cope with symptoms of:


  • Personality disorders

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Obsessive Compulsive disorder (OCD)

  • Panic disorders

  • Phobias

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Eating disorders

  • Schizophrenia

  • Sleep disorders

  • Relapse Prevention for Mental Health disorders


CBT also helps with:

  • Managing emotions more effectively

  • Assertive communication

  • Problem solving

  • Conflict resolution

  • Stress reduction

  • Anger management

  • Obsessive thinking and over-analysing

  • Intrusive and negative thoughts

  • Self-esteem and low self-confidence



CBT is different to talking therapies, it is goal focused and action orientated. There is expectation that the client is motivated to change, and prepared to work on this change within the sessions, and also in-between the sessions, through agreed tasks for the client to practice skills they have learned. This type of therapy is not suited to everyone, and the CBT Therapist will complete a CBT Assessment to determine if CBT is the most appropriate psychotherapy approach for you. During the CBT Assessment, the client and CBT Therapist work together to identify the risk factors that are maintaining the issues and problems the client is facing.  Therapy outcome goals, and  CBT tasks required to reach these goals are collaboratively agreed between the client and CBT Therapist.



CBT sessions tend to be shorter-term than generic counselling and psychotherapy, being solution focused, and working towards your set goals.


CBT is suggested to last between 6-21 sessions depending upon the complexity and severity of your issue/s. Regularly reviewing sessions is part of the CBT process, and regular feedback is important to help you and the CBT Therapist ensure that CBT is effectively working towards your set goals. CBT Booster sessions are offered after therapy at one, three, six and twelve months, as part of a continued maintenance and progress plan. 



CBT follows specific processes. There is a requirement for you, the client to bring in a specific issue that you want to work on, and be committed to in-session and in-between session tasks, to practice skills and understanding to reach your specific goals. Please refer to the list of what is CBT helpful for? 


CBT sessions are structured: with an agreed agenda at the beginning of each session relevant to the clients therapy goals. In-between session tasks are reviewed, followed by the session work and interventions, exploring and setting the next in-between session task, and feeding back to clarify relevant information. 


CBT is regularly reviewed to benchmark progress, feedback if CBT is beneficial, decide if there are further goals to re-direct focus. This process guides the CBT Therapist, how to best help you achieve your therapeutic goals, to refine CBT, to continually evolve to suit your individual needs.


CBT in-between tasks encourage the client to practice what they have learnt during sessions at home, through planned exercises, challenges and tasks. Each step takes the client a little closer to realising their goals, overcoming their fears and anxieties, regain motivation, and adopt healthier attitudes and behaviours. Please refer to what are CBT techniques for more information on examples of in-between session tasks, but ultimately it will be a joint collaborative decision between you and the CBT Therapist, to choose what would be most beneficial to practice between sessions.




CBT Collaboration

CBT is different to other talking therapy approaches, CBT is a collaborative partnership between the client and CBT Psychotherapist. This collaboration starts from the first assessment consultation, where goals and CBT tasks are agreed, and progress is measured together throughout CBT sessions. 


CBT’s Directive Approach

CBT is a directive form of psychotherapy, there is less time spent on reflective talking, and both client and CBT Therapist formulate an agenda and plan for each session.


CBT Work

CBT is a working alliance between the client and CBT Therapist, and is defined as the agreement in specific interventions and tasks to meet the client’s therapy goals expectations. Client commitment to therapy tasks that include in-between session work to practice skills, is an important CBT process, and necessary to supplement the weekly sessions for optimum successful CBT outcomes. It would be recommended to bring a notebook and pen to sessions to take down notes of what is discussed in sessions.


CBT Beginning, Middle and Ending Phases

CBT also differs from other psychotherapy approaches due to CBT processes and structure.  There is a clear CBT beginning, where client assessment and treatment goals and interventions are sought. The middle phases of CBT, are considered the working processes, where interventions are worked though along with CBT tasks and in-between session practising skills. What is different about CBT, is the planned ending phase. In the CBT ending, the client and CBT Therapist work together to identify what has been beneficial for the client, what necessary skills and tools the client has adopted to maintain the work and goals they achieved through sessions. Finally, a ‘relapse prevention plan’ is devised together for the client to take away with them as a unique tailored resource, specific to their individual needs and requirements.

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