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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

What is Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy?

Cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT is a form of psychotherapy which was originally developed for treating depression. It was subsequently extended to treat other conditions, which include anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorders, eating disorders and a range of other conditions.

CBT is actually a combination of two forms of therapy - cognitive and behavioural. Cognitive therapy focuses on the role of thinking (cognition) in determining how we feel and what we do. Therefore if we have unwanted feelings and behaviours, CBT explains these in terms of unhelpful thinking patterns, sometimes called Negative Automatic Thoughts (NATs).

Behaviour therapy is the second component of CBT, and is based on theories of learning derived from research on classical conditioning carried out by Ivan Pavlov and others, and from the work of such American behaviourists as John B. Watson and B.F. Skinner. Behaviour therapy brings about change by focusing mainly on the problem behaviour itself.