Is CBT right for you?
What is CBT?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) broadly is understanding our thinking and behaviour patterns that impact how we feel about ourselves and our lives. It explores how we might get stuck in unhelpful cycles of thinking or reacting that feed into stress, anxiety, depression and low self esteem. People learn a variety of tools and techniques to help overcome negative thinking, feel better and to improve their quality of life. CBT therapists might integrate a range of approaches to suit the client's goals, such as mindfulness, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), compassion focused techniques and schema work.
How does it work?
The core aim is to learn to spot when you are caught in vicious cycle of negative thoughts that impacts your mood and behaviour. Then, learn ways to break out of that cycle, for example, spotting familiar triggers and the way in which you might interpret these too negatively or too personally, finding a more balanced way to see the situation.
If you experience anxiety and worry, you might notice you jump to the worst case scenario and then avoid doing something for fear of a bad event occurring. In CBT, you would learn to challenge this fear by looking at what is more likely in line with evidence or by bringing in others perspectives. You would also plan how to start facing difficult situations gradually, in a manageable way, using new coping skills.
Who is it recommended for?
NICE recommends CBT as an evidence based treatment for a range of anxiety disorders (e.g. panic disorder, OCD, PTSD, health anxiety) and depression as well as other issues such as insomnia, chronic fatigue and eating disorders    . It can help adults as well as younger people and their families, where the ideas would be adapted to be suitable to the age and needs of the person.
Who is it not recommended for?
Sometimes when people struggle with more severe mental health issues, CBT may need to be combined with medication or be offered within a team of professionals working jointly with a client. CBT is also quite an active therapy that involves collaboration with the therapist and working on tasks in between sessions, so it's important this style of working suits what someone is looking for.
How can people access it?
CBT should be accessible within NHS services via Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services. However, waiting lists can be long, the number of sessions offered may be limited and sessions may be offered over the phone in the first instance. Therefore, some people prefer to seek private therapy to reduce waiting time and have treatment more tailored to their needs. This also has the benefits of choosing the therapist you want and the length of treatment that feels right for you. It’s worthwhile checking if you have a medical health insurance policy that might cover CBT therapy, so you can get private care covered.
Surrey Therapy Practice offers CBT along with other well being and counselling services. We are based in Banstead and offer face to face and remote/online sessions for both young people and adults struggling with a variety of difficulties, including anxiety, depression, self-esteem, stress and sleep problems.