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Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.

It is a way of talking about:

  • how you think about yourself, the world and other people
  • how what you do affects your thoughts and feelings.

Tell me more

CBT can help you to change how you think (Cognitive) and what you do (Behaviour). These changes can help you to feel better. CBT deals with your current problems, rather than focusing on issues from your past. It looks for practical ways to improve your state of mind on a daily basis.

CBT is most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, it cannot remove your problems, but it can help you deal with them in a more positive way. It is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle.

CBT aims to help you crack this cycle by breaking down overwhelming problems into smaller parts and showing you how to change these negative patterns to improve the way you feel. -

How can it help me?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help you make sense of overwhelming problems by breaking them down into smaller parts.

In CBT, problems are broken down into five main areas:

  • situations (i.e. – what is going on for you i.e. your health, relationships, work)
  • thoughts (i.e. the way you interpret these situations and think about them) 
  • emotions (i.e. your feelings e.g. feeling anxious, angry, sad) 
  • physical feelings (e.g. churning in stomach, tense muscles, rapid heart beat) 
  • actions (i.e. your behaviour e.g. avoidance of a situation or certain people, how you interact with others)

CBT is based on the concept of these five areas being interconnected and affecting each other. For example, your thoughts about a certain situation can often affect how you feel both physically and emotionally, as well as how you act in response.

How do I use it?

Stopping negative thought cycles

There are helpful and unhelpful ways of reacting to a situation, often determined by how you think about them.

For example, if you are diagnosed as HIV+ you may feel shame and guilt, that you will always have a certain stigma attached to you or even that you will be constantly ill or even die.

This could lead to you feeling hopeless, lonely, depressed and tired, so you stop going out and seeing friends and family. You become trapped in a negative cycle, sitting at home alone and feeling bad about yourself.

But rather than accepting this way of thinking you could accept that by getting linked to HIV medical care early, starting antiretroviral therapy (ART), adhering to your medication, and staying in care you can keep the virus under control, and live a healthy and full life.

This optimism could result in you becoming more positive about your health, adapting your life for example taking up some exercise to help create a healthy lifestyle to help you stay well.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) resources

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What's in this resource?

  • More About Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (.pdf)
    About CBT

    Download (0.09mb)
  • Vicious Circle Of Unhelpful Negative Thinking (.pdf)
    Vicious Circle

    Download (0.11mb)
  • Cbt Cycles (.pdf)

    Download (0.09mb)
  • Thought Record Sheet (.pdf)
    Thought Record Sheet

    Download (0.07mb)
  • Unhelpful Thinking Habits (.pdf)
    Unhelpful Thinking Habits

    Download (0.09mb)

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