Anne-Marie is a Level One Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist with the British & Irish Association of Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies BABCP -www.babcp.com
CBT is a dynamic form of psychotherapy that starts with the client & therapist working out the origins of the particular problem and the thinking and behavioural patterns that serve to maintain it. From there the client & therapist together seek to break these patterns using a range of behavioural & cognitive interventions to develop healthy and adaptive responses to old triggers.
CBT is an active treatment in that its objective is to move to change in the service of personally identified goals. The change mechanism is largely the 'homework assignment' that is based on specific learning from the session and then applied in real world situations.
Sessions are highly structured and following the assessment phase of treatment, they broadly take the shape of a review of homework followed by the presentation of additional CBT content based on the individual presentation and ending with consideration as to the next out of session assignment.
Those who tend to benefit most from CBT find that the way CBT understands their problem makes good sense and who then go on to try out and apply the homework tasks consistently between sessions and beyond.
In addition to applying CBT approaches to real life situations, good outcomes also correlate with regular attendance and active engagement in the sessions.
The only psychological treatment recommended by NICE (www.nice.org.uk) for common mental health difficulties such as depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and less well reported issues such as body dysmorphic disorder (perceived unattractiveness) is a course of CBT at the level of a stand alone psychotherapy.
For generalised anxiety disorder (excessive worrying about lots of things) a course of CBT at the level of a stand alone psychotherapy is recommended when psychological education and CBT self help don't achieve the desired effect.
For post traumatic stress disorder, there are just two recommended psychological approaches; a course of CBT at the level of a stand alone psychotherapy and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR).
For panic disorder (preoccupation about when the next attack might come), the two recommended treatments are applied relaxation and CBT at the level of a stand alone psychotherapy.
CBT represents (by far) the psychological treatment approach best supported by research for favourable treatment outcomes for the most commonly experienced mental health difficulties demonstrating a good track record for rates of clinically significant improvement as well as full recovery.