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CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a type of counselling that focusses on how your thoughts and beliefs affect your feelings and actions. It works to help you change some of these thoughts and beliefs so that you can manage your problems differently. The charity Mind has a very useful video that helps to explain CBT.

CBT can help with a wide range of problems including anxiety, OCD, panic attacks, depression, PTSD, health anxiety, and anger problems, it can also help manage physical problems such as chronic fatigue, chronic pain, cancer and diabetes.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy encourages you to challenge automatic thoughts that you have about a situation and consider what evidence you have for them or what other possible answer there might be.

CBT also offers you different techniques or strategies to explore different situations or patterns of beliefs. An example of CBT technique is the Vicious Flower. The Vicious Flower is a tool for understanding how our beliefs, actions and behaviours can contribute to increasing our problems and how interrupting them can decrease them.

In the centre of the flower is an a belief or behaviour that is is unhelpful to you, for instance you have a presentation at work and you feel nervous about it. (Below is an example of the vicious flower tool from the website getselfhelp.co.uk / get.gg)

The petals around the centre are thoughts, behaviours, feelings and physical feelings that feed back into the central unwanted behaviour or feeling.

So, you are anxious about your presentation at work, you start to think about all the different things that could go wrong and imagine them, you start to obsessively go over your presentation, your heart starts to race and your throat gets tight, you keep getting people to check your presentation for mistakes. All of these actions and behaviours act to increase the central nervousness and make it bigger.

You can’t stop your physical reactions, but you can challenge your thinking and you can challenge and change your behaviours. By not obsessively going over the presentation and getting others to check it, you are not stoking the fire of anxiety, by not allowing yourself to daydream about all the things that could go wrong, you are not feeding yourself with the confirmation that you need to be worried.

By interrupting the thoughts and behaviours and not adding to the feelings of nervousness and anxiety, the central anxiety should lessen.

Would you like to try CBT yourself?

Paul Carter can offer CBT therapy. To find out more about Paul and the counselling he can provide please take a look at the About Paul PageFrequently Asked Questions Page and The Counselling Services Page.

If you would like to explore CBT for yourself please take a look at the page from Mind linked above or the GetSelfHelpNow website which has a wide range of free CBT resources that you can explore.


If you feel that you would like to speak to someone about any difficulty you are having, you might find speaking to a therapist helpful. Paul offers Psychotherapy and counselling, EMDR and Clinical Supervision. If you are struggling with any issue and would like to make an appointment with Paul please call Paul on 07843 813 537 or fill in the form on the Contact Page, if he doesn’t answer he is probably in a session, please leave him a message and he will call you back as soon as he can.

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