What is CBT and will it Help?

Dr Giray Cordan

As a fully qualified Clinical Psychologist, I am trained in a number of therapies including CBT. Often my clients come to me asking for CBT because they have heard that it is the most effective approach, yet they are a little unclear of what it is and what it entails. What I know is that I have used it countless times to help clients turn their lives around. Let me share with you a little bit about how this works. 


What is CBT?

CBT is a talking therapy that can help you to manage your problems by changing the way you think, feel and behave. Central to the model is the idea that your thoughts, feelings and behaviours are interconnected, and that people can get stuck in a cycle of negative thoughts and feelings.

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An example of CBT for Depression

Let’s take a strong case of depression for example, when a person becomes depressed theycbtcycle often go into a type of hibernation – staying in bed for long periods of the day, venturing very little from their homes. When one feels depressed everything feels like a huge effort, to the point that even your movements become slow and laboured. This will often be accompanied by negative thoughts where we judge ourselves and our behaviours.

Bearing in mind the interconnectedness of our thoughts, feelings and behaviours in CBT, scientists have found that an extremely powerful and effective way to tackle depression would be to introduce what we call behavioural activation. Simply put, as your therapist, I might encourage you to commit to small amounts of regular exercise, such as walking, swimming or running. You’ll begin to notice that exercise makes you feel good – it releases endorphins at a physical level! As you change your behaviour, you change the way you feel, which in turn might make you start to think more positively about yourself.

You can begin to see how powerful this approach can be – ad in the above example we only changed the behaviour part of the triad. When you come to see me, we will also look to make big changes to the way you think and feel.


CBT has often been researched to be as good as medication in a number of conditions, and is the recommended treatment for:


How I will work with you

If CBT is recommended, I will usually aim to see you once a week. The course of treatment, depending on the complexity of the situation, will usually last for 5 to 25 sessions, with each one lasting about an hour.

I strongly believe that the success of our work will depend on developing a good therapeutic relationship, based on collaboration and trust. We will decide what goals you would like help to achieve, together with what would make the biggest impact on your wellbeing. Using a CBT approach, we will break down your difficulties into thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and I will skill you up and support you to start making some changes. At the end of our sessions we will review what we have achieved, both from your own perspective as well as from standardised measures that are specifically developed to measure change.

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