CBT is a conflation of two therapies: Cognitive therapy that looks at thought processes; and behavioural therapy which emphasises behaviour of a client. It is an alternative to psychotherapy and talk-based therapies that seek insight into the person. CBT looks for causes and solutions to practical identifiable problems. It can be used for OCD, depression, relationship or financial problems. Its use is heavily endorsed as a primary care method by the NHS in the UK. Faulty thinking is a key principle in CBT - i.e. how false beliefs can cause undesirable behaviours; and in turn how undesirable behaviours may reinforce faulty thinking.
WHAT TO EXPECT.
CBT may be practised as group therapy or individual one-to-one sessions. The facilitator or therapist may work through a workbook or work sheets that ask the client to keep a journal and identify thoughts and behaviour patterns over a day or week. The information is then used as a foundation for the therapy. The journal may espouse characteristic negative thinking patterns such as all-or-nothing thinking or catastrophisation. This leads to reconceptualisation and, ideally, ultimately to behaviour modification. The reason CBT is advocated by the health care system is that it works within a defined period of time, between 6 to 8 weeks. Psychotherapy and particularly psychoanalysis can proceed without results for much longer periods - up to several years.
There is evidence that it can work very well in treating eating disorders, body dysmorphic conditions, OCD, anxiety and depression.
It has been criticised by some as being a quick fix that doesn’t last because the underlying issues have not been properly addressed.