30 August | 2 min read.

More About Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a structured and goal-oriented approach which has shown efficacy in treating anxiety, depression, and interpersonal conflicts. CBT shows clients how to recognise and understand patterns of thoughts and actions which influence the intensity of negative moods.

The goal of CBT is to build the capacity to effectively cope and even thrive under conditions of adversity by:

  • Properly addressing distressing thoughts and feelings

  • Adjusting any thoughts and habits that may be prolonging the uncomfortable circumstances

  • Building new mental habits to tackle the problem

  • Refocusing on keeping wellbeing a priority

CBT is viewed as a shorter-term therapy, more about the “here and now” rather than exploring the origin of the problem.

The Rationale for CBT

CBT focuses on the psychological tenet that how one thinks (cognition) and how one acts (behaviour) can affect how one feels (mood). This can be seen when there is a struggle with negative thoughts or regrettable actions. Often there is a simultaneous struggle with low mood. Thus, CBT focuses on identifying and adjusting negative thoughts and maladaptive behaviours to improve mood and perspective.

What Does CBT Look Like?

During CBT therapy sessions, the client is an active participant in examining their thoughts, emotions, and behaviours.

The first few sessions will involve explaining current difficulties and identifying goals desired from the therapy so that your psychologist can plot the path forward. Your psychologist will explain the treatment rationale and the sessions’ structure and purpose.

Once the agenda is clear, your psychologist will devise specific strategies to address the problem and will rely on feedback to ensure progress of the approach. For CBT to be most effective, the strategies devised in session must be practiced outside the therapy room. The practice may include:

  • Tracking automatic thoughts and feelings that arise in response to situations in between sessions

  • Challenging underlying inner assumptions and rules after testing their cause and effect

  • Reflecting on how past experiences have influenced certain thought and behaviour patterns as a response

  • Trialing the effectiveness of adjustments in thought and behaviour in response to situations

It is commonly advised that CBT will take 12- 16 sessions to be effective, as learning and adjusting for new habits is a process that doesn’t happen overnight.

What does CBT Help With?

During times of emotional and mental distress, thoughts tend to have a biased pattern that further harms mental wellbeing. They include:

  • Dysfunctional Assumptions

    These are opinions formed about oneself and the world which may be too extreme and harsh compared to reality, affecting the individual’s ability to function.
    e.g. “If I do not succeed, my life is a complete failure”; “If this is not perfect, it will fail and I will be caught in misery”

  • Automatic Negative Thoughts

    These are harsh, gloomy and bleak themes that keep popping up in the mind without much mental effort and are left to be taken as true.
    e.g. “I will always be a failure”; “What’s the point?”

  • Catastrophising

    Constantly predicting the worst-case scenario without conclusive proof.
    e.g. Constant thoughts of losing a job before annual review or deadline. Fear of breakup after an initial disagreement in a relationship.

  • Black and White Thinking

    Seeing things in terms of all or nothing with no middle ground.
    e.g. Taking one bad experience as being an absolute indicator of the future. One disagreement as grounds for a person to be completely bad.

  • I Shoulds

    A list of “I shoulds” that need further investigation to ensure their true validity. Discipline is effective to get tasks done but living life is not just a task, and there are other methods for self-motivation. “I should” type of thoughts can cause a lot of unnecessary stress and pressure that trigger anxiety and depression

  • Filtering

    This is when we only see the negative aspects of situations and miss the positives. There is also a tendency to accept negative evaluation without doubt while distrusting positive evaluation.

  • Personalisation

    Personalisation is the tendency to take things personally even when there is no clear evidence to do so. An example will be an individual believing another person’s bad mood is a reaction to their presence.

  • Emotional Reasoning

    Refers to the habit of making conclusions and decisions under strong emotions without considering that our perspective may be skewed when emotions are riding high.
    e.g “I feel overwhelmed right now so I won’t ever be able to see this through”; “I am angry and this new person has unfriendly intentions towards me”

CBT is able to draw out and address these thought biases with more care and adjustments to ensure mental wellbeing.

Benefits of CBT

  • Develop healthier thought patterns that promote mental wellbeing

  • Increase problem-solving skills when it comes to managing emotional and mental distress

  • Effective shorter-term treatment option that is evidence-based

Biinu provides experienced Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in Sydney.

If you have any questions, please send them through via our Contact Us form or call us directly on (02) 7252 2860.

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