What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you feel, think and act. The therapy aims to find practical ways to help you deal with problems in a more positive way by breaking them down into smaller parts.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is considered the gold standard of psychotherapy, meaning that out of all the researched therapy types, CBT comes out on top. So you can be sure that CBT has been shown to be highly effective time and time again using rigorous scientific testing.

How does Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Work?

CBT is based on the idea that the five aspects of a given situation are (1) Thoughts, (2) Moods, (3) Physical reactions, (4) Behaviours, and (5) the Environment/Situation. These five areas are closely interconnected and can impact the other areas. For example, your thoughts about a certain situation can often affect how you feel physically and emotionally, as well as how you act in response. CBT helps you to use this knowledge to help you to reach your goals, whether that might be to feel better, to solve a problem, or to improve relationships.

Types of CBT

CBT can be done in different ways:

  1. Individual therapy – One on one with a trained therapist. At Durham Manor, we offer individual CBT with Nurse Psychotherapists in person or virtually.
  2. Group therapy – Led by a trained therapist, you work the CBT process with a group over 8-10 sessions. Ask us if you are interested in CBT group therapy and we will put you on a wait list. Once available, we will contact you.
  3. Self help books – Using books such as “Mind Over Mood”, which takes you through the steps of CBT. This is more likely to work if you also receive support. We have trained support coaches that can help you work through self-help books by providing motivation and answering questions.
  4. Self help apps – Internet-based CBT such as “AbilitiCBT” (https://myicbt.com/) or “MindBeacon” (https://info.mindbeacon.com/freetherapy-1) that use online modules you can move at your own pace. Many are free or low cost and are supported or guided by therapists.

What is involved in individual or one-on-one CBT?

To begin the process, you will be asked to complete an intake form and may be required to have a quick consultation/interview to determine your eligibility for our program.  Once we have determined that your needs can be met by one of our therapists, you can book an appointment for the initial session. 

At the initial session, your therapist will get to know more about you and the problem(s) you would like to address.  Your therapist will also explain more about how CBT can help you.  If both you and your therapist feel like it would be a good fit, you will continue to meet with the therapist for between 5 and 15 weekly, or biweekly sessions.  Each session will last approximately 50 minutes.  

With the therapist, you break each problem down into separate parts. This will help you to identify your individual patterns of thoughts, emotions, bodily feelings and actions.  Together you will figure out if each aspect is helping you to reach your goals or if things need to be tweaked.  Then the therapist will help you to work out how to change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours to improve your mood and/or reach your goals.

Your therapist will not ask you to do things you don’t want to do – you decide the pace of the treatment and what you will and won’t try.  The strength of CBT is that you can continue to practice and develop your skills even after the sessions have finished. This makes it less likely that your symptoms or problems will return.

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