Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of talking therapy. It gets to the roots of why people think, feel and act in certain ways, and helps to tackle any behavioural or emotional issues.

CBT is based on the idea that you feel the way you think. It focuses on thoughts, feelings and behaviours. CBT can tackle thought distortions and help you change negative thoughts, feelings, and physical responses to positive ones, helping you feel happier and more balanced.

At Ocean Recovery, we offer CBT therapy sessions and a wide range of therapies to treat alcoholism and drug addictions. CBT has proven to be hugely influential in treating habits and underlying causes.

What Issues Can CBT Treat?

CBT has been proven to treat a range of drug and alcohol addictions including cocaine, cannabis, prescription drugs and heroin.

Mental health problems such as anxiety disorders, depression, anger, panic, paranoia and psychotic disorders

  • Body dysmorphic disorder
  • Chronic pain and chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia
  • Phobias, including fear-related and social phobias
  • ADHD
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder and hoarding
  • Relationship and family issues

Research has shown that patients relapse less often if they practice CBT than those just taking medication to manage their condition.

Many GPs and psychiatrists now refer patients for a course of CBT, as it’s shown to be very effective in the long-term treatment of emotional and behavioural disorders.

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What Happens In CBT Sessions?

You’ll regularly meet your CBT therapist for up to 20 sessions. Your therapy sessions could be weekly or every few days, depending on your specific problems, and they will likely last up to an hour.

Your therapist will aim to make you feel at ease, providing a non-judgemental approach to your problems. It may take you a while to trust and relax with your therapist, which is understandable. Sharing your deepest feelings with someone may be daunting. Our CBT therapists will work with you at a pace you feel comfortable.

After much talking and discussion, you and your therapist will take apart your problems, focusing on your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. You’ll look at practical ways to alter your unhelpful beliefs and actions. You’ll be encouraged to practice positive changes between sessions, so it becomes a life-changing habit.

You could feel emotional during and after your sessions. Talking about yourself can sometimes be challenging, but your therapist is on hand to support you.

I Think CBT Could Help Me – Where Do I Get It?

Ocean Recovery provides cognitive behavioural therapy and a wide range of talking therapies.

You can also get cognitive behavioural therapy through the NHS, so ask your doctor to refer you. Private therapy is another option, with sessions costing between £50 to £100.

If you choose to look for a CBT therapist yourself, it’s crucial to find someone who is adequately qualified. Look for therapists who have a degree and an accredited postgraduate diploma.

Don’t settle for a therapist who has completed a short course without previous experience. The Online CBT Register lists all BABCP (The British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies) accredited therapists and is a great starting point.

How Does CBT Work?

CBT gives you tools to help you change negative or unhealthy deep-rooted beliefs about yourself and your wider environment. CBT aims to challenge any negative beliefs in yourself, other people or the world, changing them to positive ideas. This type of therapy gives you the strategies to manage your thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

The overriding principle of CBT is this: Your negative thoughts (in CBT terms, this is called thought distortions) leads to unpleasant feelings and physical sensations such as depression, anger or anxiety. You may act in a certain way, usually detrimental to your mental health, making you feel worse. The results can be self-destructive behaviours such as drug-taking and drug addiction, self-harm, or avoiding social situations.

CBT targets the roots of your feelings. It helps you change how you behave if you’re faced with triggering situations, paving the way for a happy and fulfilling life.

Cognitive behavioural therapy looks at the goals you want to achieve. It equips you with an action plan that helps you solve your problems and avoid a relapse, giving you the tools to change your thought patterns.

What Are The Benefits Of CBT?

The joy of CBT is that it isn’t a short-term fix; it’s a powerful tool that you can use in the long term, applying it to any situation.

CBT helps people change irrational thoughts to rational ones, particularly those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction or mental health problems.

If you have long held negative thoughts about yourself, CBT helps you replace them with positive ones and give you a long-term strategy. Our CBT therapists at Ocean Recovery work with you, looking at why you think the way you do and generating alternative, balanced thought patterns.

Many people have heard of mindfulness. Cognitive behavioural therapy helps you live in the present and not pay attention to negative thoughts. Increased awareness of your surroundings and living in the moment often helps people tackle addictions and mental health problems.

If medication hasn’t worked, CBT is a fantastic alternative.

Can I Do CBT On My Own, At Home?

We recommend you attend counselling sessions with a trained CBT therapist. But yes, you can teach yourself at home. There are fantastic CBT self-help books and online courses where you can learn about it in your own time.

What If I Try CBT And It Doesn’t Work?

Everyone is different, and whilst CBT works for many people, it doesn’t help others.

Some people may have better results with another therapist. Speak to your therapy provider if you want to try someone different. It’s also worth considering other forms of counselling, such as human-centred therapy, if CBT doesn’t suit you.

If you feel that talking therapy isn’t for you, you can access support groups in your area –your doctor should be able to recommend one.

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: December 22, 2023

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.

Dr Robert Lutaaya - Clinical Reviewer - Last reviewed: December 22, 2023

MBChB, MSc Psych

Dr Robert Lutaaya qualified in 1995 from Worclaw Medical University as MBChB, and obtained a MSc Psych from the University of Manchester in 2014. Dr Lutaaya has previously worked for the CGL Substance Misuse Service and as an on-call doctor substance misuse Doctor for 17 years before joining Ocean Recovery. Dr Robert Lutaaya is committed to helping those struggling with alcohol and drug addictions.