Posted on July 31, 2013 by in

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is concerned with the meaning events hold for people and how their thinking in response to these events can create feelings of fear and despair. It is based on identifying negative thoughts and feelings, and on giving the person the means to change these for the better.

Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis, both originally practicing psychoanalysts, devised CBT. It is a structured, and solution oriented approach, which has been developed through extensive scientific evaluation.

The thoughts, feelings, and actions relating to an event, which cause a person distress, are key concerns in CBT. What thoughts do we have concerning the event? What feelings do we then experience as a result of this and what actions do we take when feeling this way?


Our self-image arises largely from the attitudes of important figures in our lives. As we grow these gradually shape our self-appraisal, and determine how we feel about ourselves and how we relate to others. Early relationships characterised by inconsistency, painful separations, repeated disrespect or abuse, will negatively distort our self-perception and  reduce our trust in others.

Core beliefs are deeply held conclusions we make about ourselves, others, and the world, as a result of early experiences. As these beliefs are formed in childhood we rarely stop and evaluate whether they are the best way to make sense of our adult experiences. These core beliefs can be both positive and negative.  CBT focuses on the negative core beliefs, and on how we can change and develop by
rethinking, and testing new ideas and strategies. It employs practical help and tools for overcoming common emotional problems such as anxiety/phobias/depression. It highlights learning techniques and maximises self-help to that ultimately you can become your own therapist.