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This cbt self help leaflet is for anyone who wants to know more about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It discusses how it works, why it is used, its effects, its side-effects, and alternative treatments. If you can’t find what you want here, there are sources of further information on this website.
What is CBT?
It is a way of talking about:
how you think about yourself, the world and other people
how what you do affects your thoughts and feelings.
CBT can help you to change how you think (‘Cognitive’) and what you do (‘Behavior’). These changes can help you to feel better. Unlike some of the other talking treatments, it focuses on the ‘here and now’ problems and difficulties. Instead of focusing on the causes of your distress or symptoms in the past, it looks for ways to improve your state of mind now.
When does CBT help?
CBT has been shown to help with many different types of problems. These include: anxiety, depression, panic, phobias (including agoraphobia and social phobia), stress, bulimia, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and psychosis. CBT may also help if you have difficulties with anger, a low opinion of yourself or physical health problems, like pain or fatigue.
How does it work?
CBT self help can help you to make sense of overwhelming problems by breaking them down into smaller parts. This makes it easier to see how they are connected and how they affect you. These parts are:
ASituation - a problem, event or difficult situation. From this can follow:
Each of these areas can affect the others. How you think about a problem can affect how you feel physically and emotionally.
What happens in one of these areas can affect all the others.
There are helpful and unhelpful ways of reacting to most situations, depending on how you think about it. The way you think can be helpful – or unhelpful.
This ‘vicious circle’ can make you feel worse. It can even create new situations that make you feel worse. You can start to believe quite unrealistic (and unpleasant) things about yourself. This happens because, when we are distressed, we are more likely to jump to conclusions and to interpret things in extreme and unhelpful ways.
CBT self help can help you to break this vicious circle of altered thinking, feelings and behavior. When you see the parts of the sequence clearly, you can change them – and so change the way you feel. CBT self help aims to get you to a point where you can ‘do it yourself’, and work out your own ways of tackling these problems.
On this site you will also find lots of articles on CBT for Depression. CBT is used a lot as a basis for depression management.