Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is actually a broad term for a group of therapeutic frameworks, loosely referred to as first, second and third generation Behaviour Therapy (BT). First generation was based on learning theory and developed in the 1940s. The second generation developed in the late 1960s and may be referred to as ‘traditional CBT’, including Cognitive Therapy (CT) and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT). This traditional CBT is based on the premise that problematic thoughts create negative emotions. The third generation is based on changing one’s attitude towards thoughts, feeling and behaviours. There are many variations on the ‘third wave’, including Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

Cognitive-behavioural therapies are based on the assumption that symptoms are the problem, rather than deeper issues. CBT therefore focusses on symptom reduction, and tends to be relatively short-term in duration. CBT approaches are developed for specific psychological problems, and therefore are evidence-based. This means that cognitive–behavioural therapies demonstrate scientifically proven effectiveness in symptom reduction.

CBT is based on the idea that our thoughts, emotions, behaviours and physical sensations are inter-related, and that our thoughts and beliefs (cognitions) significantly influence our emotional state. CBT can be considered to include both cognitive techniques and behavioural techniques.

Cognitive techniques are used to increase awareness of unhelpful thought processes (cognitive distortions), challenge these distortions, and ultimately replace them with more realistic and rational cognitions. The result is to moderate one’s emotional state. Behavioural techniques focus on changing behaviours that reinforce or maintain cognitive distortions. For example, getting out of bed earlier and visiting a friend rather than sleeping in late when you are feeling depressed. Other behavioural techniques include relaxation training, exposure therapy, activity scheduling, social skills training, and anger and stress management techniques.

Craig incorporates a CBT framework into his work and has both undertaken extensive training in CBT and accumulated a great deal of experience in CBT and its application to many psychological problems. If you are interested in CBT and would like more information you can contact us using the information below.