What is CBT?
In order to understand fully what DBT is, we must also understand CBT, which has formed the foundation for DBT.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a form of talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you behave and think. It’s commonly used to trate anxiety and depression, but is also used for a range of common conditions.
The concept of CBT is that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are all interconnected – negative feelings and thoughts can lead you into a vicious cycle.
The belief is that psychological problems are based in part on unhelpful ways of thinking, or learned patterns of unhelpful thoughts and behaviours, and that people can learn better ways of coping to relieve symptoms.
The idea of CBT is to help you deal with problems in a positive way, by breaking them down into smaller parts and reducing feelings of being overwhelmed.
A CBT therapist will show you how to change these negative patterns until you can improve the way you feel. Unlike traditional talking therapies, CBT looks at your current problems and doesn’t focus on issues from the past.
CBT works well for a wide range of mental health conditions, and has been used to help people living with long-term health conditions such as fibromyalgia and IBS.
Patients usually have 12-20 sessions, lasting between 30 and 60 minutes per session. These are usually 1 to 1 sessions, or in small groups with others in a similar situation to you.
CBT is quite structured, and isn’t right for everyone.The first few sessions are spent assessing whether CBT is the right treatment for you. If it’s not right for you, or you are uncomfortable with it, the therapist can discuss alternative therapies that may be more suitable.
Some people don’t feel CBT is a suitable treatment for complex conditions such as BPD, as it doesn’t address the underlying causes of mental health conditions such as abuse, trauma, etc. For some people, such as those with complex conditions such as BPD, being able to work through trauma and come out the other side is an important part of recovery.
Further to this, CBT requires efforts from the patient to change thought and behaviour patterns, such as facing fears and anxieties (sometimes through exposure therapy), or using role play to practice difficult situations. These may be too stressful for people with complex needs or those living with trauma or PTSD. It can also feel overwhelming, for people already living with overwhelming thoughts and emotions.