CBT is short term, focused therapy which focuses on allowing clients to identify unhelpful thinking and behaviour patterns and to change these. CBT has been extensively investigated in rigorous clinical trials, focusing on immediate difficulties as well as long term strategies, and is tailored to each individual.
CBT is an active and collaborative counselling treatment, where the client does not adopt a passive role, but rather becomes an active partner in the treatment plan with the therapist. In CBT, clients are taught about the vicious cycles of thinking, behaviour, emotions and physical reactions that maintain the disorder they are suffering from. Then counselling moves on to learning strategies such as relaxation, lifestyle changes, identifying and challenging ‘automatic’ thinking patterns, making gradual changes in unhelpful behaviours, such as avoidance of feared situations, and learning how to maintain treatment gains without relapsing.
In CBT, counselling continues outside the scheduled sessions, as research has shown the importance of clients practicing strategies and attempting tasks in between sessions. CBT incorporates these ‘homework’ tasks.