Main components of CBT

Formulation guided: The treatment is guided by a shared understanding of the difficulties (formulation) which is based on your lived experiences and the existing scientific knowledge of the specific condition.  This can be drawn out in a diagram for easier understanding and helps in planning the therapy.  Some of the formulation’s elements and their connections might be clear from the beginning; others might be checked out and added throughout the course of the therapy.

Time limited: CBT does not usually last for years ongoing.  For specific isolated problems, treatments can be as short as 10 sessions or even less.  Often, between 16 and 20 sessions are offered, and a longer duration of the treatment can be negotiated with the therapist.  With the exception of some long standing personality related issues, CBT rarely lasts longer than a year.

Goal orientated: To help you to overcome current difficulties and to successfully tackle some of the challenges, we will be working towards your own personal goals.  This focus helps to keep track of the success of the therapy and to experience a fuller life.

Active therapy: Although most of the sessions are spent talking, drawing, or putting things down on paper, therapy also includes more active parts. This may include testing out new behaviours, behavioural coaching, or going out of the therapy room and checking out your thoughts or assumptions in specific situations.  This can initially feel a bit unusual, but it provides a highly effective way of learning. 

Put into practice in your everyday life (work between sessions):  One of the most important aspects of CBT is to help you to use your new skills in your day to day life.   In order to get the most benefit from the therapy, you will be asked to do a certain amount of work between the sessions.  We can speak about what would be acceptable and suitable for you and adapt homework assignments. However, it is a proven fact that clients who do engage in work between the sessions make faster progress.

Progress tracking: The success of a treatment is highly personal and only you, and sometimes the people who know you well, can decide if a treatment is effective for you.  The CBT therapy is specifically tailored to suit your own needs and goals, and helps you to progress most successfully.  Your regular feedback will guide us and help us to see if therapy is helping to move you in the right direction.

In addition, I suggest a progress review using, if available, an established questionnaire for the problems we are working on.  With feedback from different sources, both of us can decide throughout the course of the therapy if it needs to be further adapted.

Dr TOM G WERNER  Psychiatrist & CBT-Therapist