CBT concentrates on ‘here and now’ life challenges. Through the use of talking, and recording relevant experiences in a diary, the therapist helps you to further understand yourself.
The thinking process often including ‘fleeting feelings’ are carefully considered alongside your behaviour in response to these thoughts. A psychological formulation is made which hopefully results in you being able to understand how particular thoughts lead to a behavioural reaction e.g. avoidance of a ‘social situation’.
Homework exercises are suggested which encourage you to change your behaviour ‘there and then’ and result in you having different thoughts and behaviour when you confront this life situation again.
How effective is CBT?
The recent NICE recommendations and Cochrane reviews suggest that depression, generalised anxiety, panic disorder, social phobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have the best outcomes.
Marital distress, anger, substance use and chronic pain have moderate outcomes. CBT with eating disorders and schizophrenia/bipolar difficulties are not as successful.
As the complexity of a problem increases NICE recommend combining medication with CBT.