Your guide to cognitive behavioural therapy
A talking therapy that is sometimes referred to as an intervention, cognitive behavioural therapy is based on several psycho-social theories. Sometimes referred to as CBT for short, cognitive behavioural therapy aims to challenge people in their thoughts, especially ones that have become cognitively distorted in some way, either through habit, belief systems or erroneous attitudes. By talking about such thoughts and challenging them in a secure environment, therapists try to alter the way patients think which can often include attitudes to themselves. Cognitive behavioural therapy was first developed to help people suffering from chronic depression. Still, it has since been adapted to treat people with other mental health conditions, such as anxiety and even psychosis and bipolar disorder.
How does cognitive behavioural therapy work?
CBT works by making use of the principles that lie behind behavioural psychology and cognitive psychology, bringing both strands together. Although CBT therapists talk with their patients in confidence, the process of cognitive behavioural therapy differs from psychoanalysis and psychotherapy because hidden meanings and deep interpretations are not sought. Instead, CBT therapists aim to fix problems and take a more proactive approach by using evidence-based strategies based on already diagnosed conditions. As such, it is not used as a diagnostic tool, rather a means of improving the mental health of patients.
Who developed cognitive behavioural therapy?
To some, the philosophical underpinning of cognitive behavioural therapy goes back to the stoic traditions of ancient Greece and Rome. That said, CBT started to take off as an alternative to psychotherapies in the 1960s when the theoretical conditioning work of John B Watson and Rosalie Rayner, dating back to the 1920s, began to be read more widely. Early pioneers of CBT were Joseph Wolpe, Julian Rotter and B. F. Skinner.
Can cognitive behavioural therapy help with grief?
As mentioned, cognitive behavioural therapy is used to help people with a range of psychological disorders and mental health problems. Numerous psychologists agree that CBT is also a powerful tool in helping people to get through the process of grief. Although it does not 'cure' grief as such, it can help people to cope with the way that it feels in the aftermath of a bereavement.