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Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: What It Is and How It Works

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

CBT or cognitive behavioural therapy is a type of treatment that helps an individual recognize negative behaviour and thought patterns. The goal of CBT is to help a person identify and determine ways their thoughts and feelings can impact their actions. Once you learn how to identify patterns, you can start figuring out how to change those behaviours and come up with effective coping strategies.

CBT addresses the present more than it does the past. In certain conditions and people, other approaches in psychotherapy may be more effective. As always, our cognitive behavioural therapist reminds people that when it comes to therapies, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.

What’s the Core Concept of CBT?

CBT is generally based on the belief that emotions, thoughts, and actions are all related, which simply means that your actions are affected by what you feel and think about something.

For instance, if you’re always under a lot of stress because of your work, you might make decisions that you wouldn’t ordinarily make. You might suddenly decide to stop working, turn on your colleagues, or make other rash decisions. But the other key concept of CBT is that such thoughts and behaviour patterns can change with the right approach.

Common CBT Techniques

How do you rework your behaviour and thought patterns? There are many techniques that your therapist can try with you to see which one works best for you:

Some of those CBT techniques include:

  • Developing new problem-solving skills

  • Recognizing the way inaccurate thinking can make problems worse

  • Building confidence and understanding of the importance of appreciating self-worth

  • Using role play and calming techniques to practise for potentially challenging circumstances

  • Learning how to better face challenges and fears

The aim of the mentioned techniques is to have encouraging thoughts take the place of self-defeating ones.

What CBT Can Help you With

There are a range of things cognitive behavioural therapy can help with, including:

  • Anxiety disorders

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Depression

  • Eating disorders

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

  • Schizophrenia

  • Substance misuse

Apart from these mental health conditions, CBT can also help individuals facing:

  • A serious health diagnosis

  • Breakup or divorce

  • Chronic pain

  • General stresses of life

  • Grief

  • Low self-esteem

  • Insomnia

  • Relationship difficulties

Different CBT Types

There are different forms of therapy that belong under the CBT umbrella:

Exposure Therapy

This is a type of therapy involving a slow introduction of anxiety-inducing activities or situations for a set period (for instance one or two hours per day). This can be particularly effective for those dealing with OCD or phobias.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

This type of therapy involves the incorporation of techniques such as emotional regulation and mindfulness through talk therapy. This can be done in an individual therapy session or a group setting. This is recommended for people dealing with borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorder, and more.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

This therapy makes use of mindfulness techniques as well as meditation and cognitive therapy. This shows great potential for those dealing with generalised anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

This type of therapy involves the practice of accepting negative and unwanted thoughts. This particular subtype of CBT can be effective for individuals dealing with catastrophic or intrusive thinking.

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy

This is the original form of CBT that focuses on negative thought patterns and how they can impact issues with feelings and behaviours. This can work for various concerns like anxiety, depression, insomnia, and more.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based therapy that has been proven to be an effective treatment for a variety of mental health concerns. It works by helping the patient identify and challenge negative thoughts and beliefs that may be causing their distress. Through CBT, the patient is able to identify patterns in their thinking and behaviour, and develop new, healthier ways of thinking and responding. CBT also helps the patient learn skills to better manage their emotions and cope with stress. With the help of a trained cognitive behavioural therapist, CBT can be a powerful tool to help people overcome mental health challenges and improve their overall quality of life.

Get-Unstuck Counselling and Therapy Glasgow offers cognitive behaviour therapy in Glasgow both online and in person. Schedule your appointment with our therapist today and take your first step toward better mental health!



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