What happens in Therapy
CBT is a talking therapy, so the therapist you are talking to is trained to help you deal with your negative feelings. However, usually, the most impactful element of the therapy happens between your sessions. This is what makes CBT so effective over the long-term.
Initially, your therapist will help you complete a list of the problems that you want to address. You’ll also develop realistic, flexible and frequently reviewed goals you would like to achieve.
Your treatment sessions will be structured. Together with your therapist, you’ll set an agenda which covers each session and takes account of your changing needs. This collaborative approach includes you focusing on testing new ways of thinking, feeling or behaving, because most of us (but not all) know what our problems are; we need to find out and address why we’re getting in the way of your recovery.
During your therapy, your CBT therapist will find solutions that work for you; so that you can become your therapist by applying new skills and techniques to old patterns of thinking and behaving.
If relevant, you will also look at the impact of the following on yourself and your relationships:
- Unhelpful behaviours (e.g. avoidance or substance use)
- Thinking distortions (like catastrophising or always looking at the worst part of the experience)
- Being in negative emotional states (like anxiety, stress or depression)
- Physical symptoms (such as lack of energy, muscle tension or palpitations)
Traumatic life events
You will take an active part in therapy, including having CBT homework between sessions. This could be completing a thought diary or completing a task to test rules and assumptions that might be perpetuating your problem.
Therapy can be weekly but will always be tailored to your needs and schedule. Sessions are typically 50 minutes to 1 hour.
After your initial assessment, you and your therapist will agree to your treatment plan. A typical treatment plan looks like this:
- Agree problem(s) and treatment goals
- Agree number of therapy sessions (usually 8 – 12)
- Achieve treatment goals and outcomes
- Decide steps to take to prevent relapse
- Follow up and top up sessions as required
Your treatment plan will always be tailored to your lifestyle and needs, and we are very happy to provide remote therapy by Skype, phone, e-mail and even SMS to ensure a continuation of therapy.
We also provide support in different environments if this is part of your treatment goal. For example, your therapist can carry out exposure activities or behavioural experiments outside the clinic – for example on the Tube if this is a stressor for you.
Overall, we aim to provide you with the tools you need to be able to manage your life successfully on an ongoing basis.