What is CBT?

The CBT approach is ‘evidence based’: it is based in scientific principles which research has shown to be effective for a wide rage of problems.

Cognitive-Behavioural therapy is a practical, present focused approach to treatment.

It is based in the principle that the way people think, feel and behave are as a result of learning processes; therefore it follows that people can unlearn and relearn different ways of coping. It suggests that thoughts, feelings and behaviour(s) are interlinked and that if any aspect of these areas is unhelpful it can affect the others. This is shown diagrammatically below:

cbt bubble

Case example: 

Imagine the following situation, a friend is due to meet you for dinner at your house at 19.00, it’s now past 19.30 and there’s no sign of her – not even a phone call. How do you feel about this? As the following table makes clear, there is more than one possible answer:

A friend is late for dinner……


There are, of course, ways not shown in the table in which someone might react to their friend’s being late, and – as a result – different ways in which someone might react emotionally and behaviourally. Note that your thoughts about your friend’s lateness don’t just affect your feelings – they also influence the actions that you take.

CBT helps people to identify and modify unhelpful ways of thinking and behaving, which will ultimately affect the way they feel. It also helps people to learn more effective ways of coping, which will, hopefully, help them to maintain symptom relief and prevent relapse in the future.

For further information and responses to frequently asked questions please click here.