CBT emphasises the role of thinking in what we feel and what we do. Traditionally, we tend to blame the way that we feel and act on our situation, other people or events that happen to us. CBT is based on the idea that it is our thoughts (cognitions), beliefs and attitudes that influence our feelings and behaviour. This approach means that we can change our thoughts so that we can behave more effectively and feel better, even if our situation does not change.


With CBT the number of sessions is determined at the outset. Results can be achieved quite quickly with this form of therapy. Clients attend a session a week, each session lasting either 50 minutes or an hour. During this time, the client and therapist work together to understand what the problems are and to develop strategies to address them. During the course of the therapy, the counsellor will introduce the client to a set of principles that they can apply whenever they need to, and which should assist them to cope with future challenges. Homework assignments are an important feature of CBT. They allow the client to practice the methods learned in a real world setting and to then reflect on and learn from their experiences within the safety of counselling sessions.


In CBT, the counsellor's role is to listen, teach, and encourage, while the client's roles is to express concerns, learn and implement learning. The client and counsellor work together using this approach to test out how the ideas behind CBT apply to the client's individual situation and problems.


Because CBT works through having a specific focus and goals, it is very suitable for people who have particular problems that they wish to address. CBT may be less suitable for someone who feels unhappy or unfulfilled without understanding why. People tend to prefer CBT if they want a more practical treatment.

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