5 myths About Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Myths about cognitive Behavioural Therapy CBT - photo of facts or myths

No psychotherapy is a ‘magic bullet’ or perfect treatment.

However it is important to understand the true facts about any Therapy you have in order to make a fully informed opinion whether to start it or not.

Although our clinic offers Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, we have put together a list of the top 5 myths about Cognitive Behavioural therapy to help you decide if CBT is likely to help you. 


1) It’s All About Thinking Positively

CBT is much more focused on seeing things in ways that are accurate and helpful. This means seeing events clearly as they are, and working towards building beliefs that are useful and lead to beneficial consequences. These are quite different things to thinking positively. After all, sometimes a situation isn’t positive, in which case it would be unrealistic to try and see it as such. If something really isn’t positive Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is likely to focus on strategies to manage or cope with it.


2) It’s A Long Term Psychotherapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a problem solving therapy. This means it is very good at helping to understand problems and resolve them. These might be outward problems in your life that are affecting your mood, or internal problems such as experiencing difficult emotions or thoughts. CBT will help you prioritise problem areas and work with them. Many courses of treatment last for between 4 and 18 sessions, which is considerably shorter than some other types of psychotherapy.


3) It’s Too Short That It doesn’t Fully Solve Problems

In the same way as CBT isn’t a ‘long term therapy’ it’s also should be as long as is useful for you to fully benefit from it. Whilst CBT won’t solve problems for you, it should be long enough to help you understand and feel confident in using psychological skills, techniques and tools to tackle problems.


4) It’s An Easy Therapy

If you’re about to explore difficult areas then no therapy is likely to be an ‘easy’ experience. Your therapist should help keep therapy as simple as possible so that you can understand what to do in order to improve things. It’s important to keep in mind here the difference between therapy being easy and it being simple.
5) It’s The Best Psychotherapy For All Mental Health Problems.
CBT has a strong evidence base showing its effectiveness in treating a range of problems. But there are problem areas that it can be less effective in working with. It’s a good idea to check with your Therapist what current clinical research suggests will be the most useful approaches to working with your problems. As everybody learns and understands things in different ways it might be the case that CBT isn’t for you. This is ok, and your therapist should be able to discuss alternative options with you.


5) It Works For Every Mental Health Problem

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has gained a strong evidence-base in treating or managing a wide range of psychological problems.  However, in some areas there either isn’t enough research to conclusively say that CBT is the most effective treatment and sometimes the research actually shows that some types of CBT can actually be unhelpful in working with certain mental health problems.

It’s important to keep in mind here that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy really is an umbrella term for any type of psychological approach that is interested in helping people understand and alter unhelpful thinking processes or behaviours.  This means that there are a large number of ways to do it and a wide range of techniques.  For example approaches such as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) are all approaches that come under the heading of CBT – but have quite varying ways of working with problems.  It’s a good idea to speak with a qualified and experienced CBT therapist in oder to find out what type of approach will be suitable for you.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that there are a number of practitioners within the private health field particularly that claim to offer CBT, however are not necessarily closely following approaches that are supported by rigorous research.  To avoid this, check that your CBT Therapist holds BABCP accreditation.



If you would like to explore how private Cognitive Behavioural can help your problems why not get in touch and arrange an initial appointment with us?


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