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5 Steps to Change Your Thinking With Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is also known as CBT. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is one of the most common types of therapy offered. Most commonly recommended to treat depression and anxiety but can be useful for other mental health as well as physical problems. Recent studies have shown that 50.4% of patients who have received Cognitive Behavioural Therapy have seen improvements. [Source: bmcpsychiatry]


This blog will expand on; What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy? As well as the five main steps of the therapy. How exactly Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is different to other therapies? How this form of therapy is beneficial and what Cognitive Behaviour Therapy can help with?

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a psychotherapeutic treatment. CBT helps to; identify and change destructive or even disturbing thought patterns that have a negative influence on behaviour and emotions. Cognitive behavioural therapy focuses on changing the automatic negative thoughts that can contribute to and worsen emotional difficulties, depression, and anxiety. Helping to have healthy trains of thought and encourage you to have a positive outlook on scenarios.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy will work on how you think of yourself, others around you as well as situations. CBT will also have an effect on feelings and emotions. There are also different types of CBT.

Looking at the different forms, we come across:

  • Cognitive therapy - focuses on identifying and changing distressing thoughts

  • Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) - addresses thoughts and behaviours while incorporating strategies such as emotional regulation.

  • Multimodal therapy - suggests psychological issues must be treated by addressing seven different modalities: behaviour, affect, sensation, imagery, cognition, interpersonal factors, and drug/biological considerations

  • Rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT) - involves identifying irrational beliefs, actively challenging these beliefs, and finally learning to recognize and change these thought patterns.

While each of the above CBT approaches is different, they all have the same focus and aim. All of the different strategies aim to help work on patterns of thought.


Five Steps of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy will become a lifelong skill once you understand how the train of thought works. However, when going through the therapy process it is often broken down into five different steps.

The fives steps are:
  1. Make a list

  2. Record unproductive thoughts

  3. Create replacement thoughts

  4. Read your list often

  5. Notice and replace

Once you have become familiar with these five steps they will then become a habit. Therefore, making it much easier to follow a more positive train of thought. Having a more positive train of thought creates us to be more open and able to approach each situation more calmly.


How is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy different

Many therapies focus on issues from the past which may create and leave long-lasting mental effects on us. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy focuses on the current issue of your thoughts, feelings and emotions. CBT looks for particular ways to improve your state of mind.

Focusing on ways to help deal with big problems by breaking them down and focusing on how to handle them and deal with emotions that may be overwhelming at the time. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy involves homework and practices outside of the therapy session. Compared to other therapies CBT often requires fewer sessions than other therapies, helping you to identify and cope with specific challenges as well as giving you the tools to handle emotional challenges.


Cognitive therapy

Cognitive therapy is something that you can use in everyday life. Teaching you how to handle new situations and emotions that may be overwhelming. Studies have shown that 69.3% of people have received Cognitive Behavioural Therapy at one point in their lives.

A form of therapy that allows you to feel some independence when tackling difficult situations. Helping to install self-care as well as encouraging us to have an open mind.

How does it work?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is done over a period of time. The time frame is anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months, all circumstantially dependent. CBT works by teaching us how to break down our problems and take a different outlook on them. Showing us how to focus on how we should handle the situation and how to process what may have happened. Teaching us how to have a better understanding.

Having a better understanding may make handling and processing unpleasant situations easier.

How is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Beneficial?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy may offer a more stable form of help to anxiety and other mental illnesses over medication as CBT has a longer-lasting effect than medication.

Taking a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy approach allows you to feel independent. Allowing you to learn how to handle and deal with situations by yourself. Therefore, leading to you feeling more independent than you have resolved or dealt with situations confidently as well as on your own.

While it is always okay to need further support it is also good to feel as if we can positively deal with situations and our emotions with our instincts.

What can Cognitive Behavioural Therapy help with?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy cannot help to solve everything. However, it can help with many mental as well as physical illnesses.

Some mental illnesses are:
  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Bipolar

  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

  • Eating Disorders

  • Panic Disorder

  • Phobias

  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • Psychosis

  • Schizophrenia

  • Sleep problems

Some physical problems such as:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)

  • Fibromyalgia

If you feel you would like a better insight into the ongoing mental health problems, we do offer an online Mental Health First Aid course.

Provided by an instructor qualified under Mental Health First Aid England, allowing yourself to become a qualified Mental Health First Aider.

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Sources used:





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I am a multi-award-winning women's healthcare advocate.


I am extremely passionate about women's healthcare and mental health.

Did you know that - You are more likely to meet someone about to attempt suicide than about to have a heart attack? Everyone should know what to do.


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