CBTLittle do we realise that we can shape the course that our lives take just by thinking differently. We can become what we wish to be. We need to realise that positive or negative thoughts about a matter influence the outcome of that situation. Your thoughts and perspectives can influence your feelings at a moment. The way you look at yourself and the way you allow others to look at you defines the outcome of many decisions.

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

Cognitive behaviour therapy is a psychotherapeutic talking therapy.

CBT deals with two aspects of treatment: cognition and behaviour. By altering the way you think (cognition) and the way you act (behaviour), it can help you achieve your goals with greater ease.

In CBT you are required to talk about how you feel about yourself and those around you. It also involves talking about how your actions affect your thoughts and behaviours. What makes this therapy different from other therapies is that it involves dealing with the current state of your mind instead of concentrating on the cause of your distress in the past.

How Does CBT Work?

The main theme of CBT revolves around the fact that it involves breaking your problems into smaller parts and then dealing with these parts one at a time. The aim of CBT is to make you recognise the connection between these parts and analyse how it affects you. It helps breaks down a problem into these basic parts:

1.     Situation

2.     Thoughts

3.     Emotions

4.     Physical feelings

5.     Actions

When you are faced with a difficult situation, CBT teaches you how to dispel non-productivity and change your negative thoughts. When faced with the situation you might have thoughts that help you feel better about the situation or thoughts that make you feel worse about it. These thoughts will in turn arouse emotions in you that will either make you feel happy or face a feeling of dejection and low mood.

In the case of negative and emotions of sadness you may exhibit physical manifestations like headaches, stomach cramps or a feelings of low energy and ill health. On the other hand, positive emotions will not arouse any such physical symptoms and at most they will make you feel good about the situation. These physical symptoms in turn make you act in a specific way as a response to your unease thus creating unnecessary problems out of situations.

Five Areas of Assessment Using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

What CBT aims to achieve is to help the sufferer review these five steps of dealing with a problem and deal with each of them individually. Once you see each part in the sequence clearly, you can change what you feel. CBT helps you look at the sequence on your own so that you can solve your own problems. It allows you to break from this cycle and harbour productivity and positivity.

When does CBT help?

CBT can be used for a diversity of mental health problems. It can be used in depression, anxiety, phobia, stress, OCD, bipolar disorder or eating disorders. CBT can also help deal with anger, pain or fatigue.

CBT For Depression

The same sequence of events are also followed by people suffering from depression. CBT can be an effective psychological treatment for moderate to severe depression. In most cases, it is can be as successful as taking anti-depressant medication, but without the side effects of medication.

Depression is defined as a state of constant low mood or energy with decreased interest in daily activities and lack of pleasure in pleasurable activities. Thus sufferers of depression are more prone to harbouring negative thoughts and derive complicated conclusions and assumptions about relationships and events.

The vicious cycle of the situation, thoughts, emotions, physical manifestations and actions can be interrupted effectively by utilizing CBT. When depressed people draw wrong conclusions out of situations they are more likely to exhibit negative behaviour and go home brooding over these negative thoughts. When we are distressed we tend to believe unrealistic and unpleasant things about our self. CBT helps these individuals look at the five steps of the sequence individually and stop them from adopting negative responses at each step.

How Does CBT Help With Depression?

One of the aetiologies described for depression is based on Aaron Beck’s cognitive theory of depression. This theory relates the depressed feelings with the negative interpretations of the sufferers. He described that depressed people have a tendency to develop a negative schema about situations earlier on in life and this natural reaction is instilled in their personalities for life.

He describes a cognitive triad which inculcates negative schema and cognitive biases. Depressed people have a tendency to form negative biases involving arbitrary inference, selective abstraction, over-generalization, magnification and minimisation. This leads to negative personal inferences fuelling the negative schema further. CBT works on this theory and helps form a positive response from cognition to behaviour.

CBT can be undertaken on a personal level or within group therapy. It allows the sufferer to talk about his feelings and reactions towards a distressing situation. The therapist monitors his behaviour and helps him react by feeling differently about the same situation thus modifying the sequence of events leading to negative outcomes.


Australia Counselling has many therapists, counsellors and psychologists located in Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and regional areas of Australia who use CBT, cognitive behaviour therapy. Visit our cognitive behavioural therapies page to find a psychologist or counsellor in your local area.

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