All About Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, How it Works and It’s Effectiveness with Mental Health Problems


What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of mental health counselling that focuses on helping you to change unhelpful thought patterns that contribute to mental health problems.

It is based on the idea that your thoughts, emotions and behaviours are connected and that by changing one, you can influence the others.

Developed by Aaron Beck in the 1960’s, CBT has become the dominant approach to overcoming mental health problems.

Furthermore, CBT has also become the preferred approach used in the NHS IAPT service.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is used to treat a variety of mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD as well as fears and phobias.


How does Cognitive Behavioural Therapy work?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy works by helping you to change negative or unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaviour that contribute to distress.

It has a highly structured approach that involves:

Identifying negative thoughts and beliefs.

The first step in CBT is identifying any negative thoughts or unhelpful core beliefs that may be leading to mental health problems.

Your thoughts may be unrealistic or irrational, for example excessive self criticism or negativity and are known as thinking traps.

Examining the evidence.

Once your thinking traps have been identified, we examine the evidence for and against these thoughts and beliefs.

This will help you to develop a more balanced and realistic view of your experiences.

Challenging negative thoughts.

Once the evidence no longer supports your unhelpful thoughts or beliefs you will be in a position to actively challenge your old ways of thinking and create new outcomes.

Developing coping skills.

Cognitive behavioral therapy also involves developing better coping strategies for dealing with difficult situations.

These coping skills may involve new thinking styles as well as new behaviours.

Practicing new skills.

Finally, CBT emphasises the importance of practicing your new skills and strategies in real life situations.

This will help you to build confidence and develop a sense of mastery over your thoughts and behaviours.

Overall, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy empowers you to actively engage in your own treatment and recovery.

Young man having cognitive behavioral therapy

How Many Session of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Will I Need?

The number of sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy that you may need varies depending on your personality and the nature of your problem.

In general, CBT is a relatively short term therapy of between 10 and 20 sessions.

Some individuals may require more or fewer sessions, depending on the severity and complexity of their mental health problem.

For example, individuals with severe depression or anxiety may require more sessions than those with mild to moderate symptoms.

The number of sessions can also vary depending on how the therapy is delivered (face-to-face may be different to Online therapy).

Ultimately, the number of sessions needed for CBT will depend on the individual’s specific needs and goals, as well as the therapist’s professional judgment.


The Evidence Supporting CBT

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a well established form of psychotherapy that has been extensively researched over the past few decades.

Some of the key findings that support the efficacy of CBT include:

CBT is effective for a variety of mental health problems.

Research has shown that CBT can be effective in treating depression, anxiety disorders including panic attacks and social anxiety.

It also shows high effeciacy for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and eating disorders.

CBT is as effective as medication for many mental health problems.

Studies have shown that CBT can be just as effective as medication in treating depression, anxiety disorders, and PTSD.

It may also be more effective than medication in preventing relapse.

CBT produces lasting results.

Several studies have shown that the benefits of CBT can last long after the therapy sessions have ended.

This is particularly true for CBT for depression and anxiety.

CBT is effective across different age groups.

Research has shown that CBT can be effective for children, adolescents, and adults.

CBT can be delivered in different formats.

CBT can be delivered to individuals, groups or as online therapy.

Studies have shown that online CBT can be just as effective as face-to-face therapy.

Overall, the evidence for CBT is strong, and it is widely considered to be one of the most effective forms of psychotherapy available.

The Behaviour Change Framework

All of our cognitive behavioral therapy programmes use the Behaviour Change Framework (BCF).

This scientifically proven approach defines the stages of behaviour change that you need to go through in order to achieve long lasting and sustainable changes.

The framework provides a roadmap that indicates if more change is required before entering the next phase of therapy.

In this way, we are able to ensure that you get the best possible level of support in overcoming your mental health problems as well preventing early termination of therapy.

You can read more about the Science of Change here.

Arrange your FREE initial consultation here.

If you’d like to find out more about cognitive behavioral therapy and mental health problems then why not arrange a free initial consultation with us.

During this consultation we will discuss your particular problems and how CBT can help you to overcome adversity.

The consultation lasts around 50 minutes and is a great opportunity to meet with Paul to decide if you would like to proceed with any support.

Types of Therapy


If you prefer to solve your own mental health problems we have also developed a stand-alone 10 module Self-Help CBT course for just £149.

Paul Lee BSc. MSc. Psych.

Psychologist Paul Lee in Clinic

You can contact Paul by e-mail on:

Tel: 07434 776125

Counselling Locations

We offer cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for people living in:

  • Wombourne
  • Wolverhampton
  • West Midlands
  • Shropshire
  • South Staffordshire
  • Telford
  • Shrewsbury

You can also access our services around the World using online therapy with Paul.