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Introduction to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Introduction to Cognitive Behavioual Therapy (CBT)

This is a short introduction to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). It is designed to help you understand the basics of the model and apply some useful techniques in your practice. It does not qualify you as a CBT practitioner, but is rather a taster.

CBT is an evidence based model, widely used in the NHS because it is relatively cheap, often being restricted to between 6-12 sessions (20 sessions for moderate to severe depression); it is easy to train existing professionals, such as social workers and nurses; and it works for many people, relieving the symptoms of anxiety and depression. It is therefore the modality of choice for these conditions by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), called for 10,000 newly trained CBT practitioners in the NHS, which is attempting to increased access to psychological therapies. CBT can also be done by individual clients on a computer (CCBT). NICE recommend using Beating the Blues for people with mild and moderate depression and Fear-Fighter for people with panic and phobia.

CBT’s effectiveness is determined by randomized controlled trials; CBT treatment is compared to other, carefully controlled conditions. These include comparing the treatment to groups receiving no treatment, to another psychological treatment (e.g. psychoanalysis or person-centered counselling) and to the use of medication.


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