What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on modifying dysfunctional emotions, behaviours, and thoughts by interrogating and uprooting negative or irrational beliefs. Considered a “solutions-oriented” form of talking therapy, CBT rests on the idea that thoughts and perceptions influence behaviour. Feeling distressed, in some cases, may distort one’s perception of reality. CBT aims to identify harmful thoughts, assess whether they are an accurate depiction of reality, and, if they are not, employ strategies to challenge and overcome them.

CBT was founded by psychiatrist Aaron Beck in the 1960s, following his disillusionment with Freudian psychoanalysis, and a desire to explore more empirical forms of therapy. CBT also has roots in Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT), the brainchild of psychologist Albert Ellis.

CBT is appropriate for people of all ages, including children, adolescents, and adults. It is a commonly used therapy within the NHS and Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP’s) due to is usually being short-term therapy.

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