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Time to take the T out of CBT?

This article comes with a health warning. It may illicit an emotional response!



Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT for short is a form of talking therapy developed as far back as the 1960s. It has grown in prominence in the last few decades and is recommended here in the United Kingdom by the National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE) for treating anxiety and depression.


It is widely used as one of a number of talking therapies across the National Health Service (NHS) and has underpinned the success of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service that has seen a step change in the treatment of mild and moderate mental health conditions.


In 2014, this author himself underwent a course of group based CBT as part of a more comprehensive 4 week treatment for stress. During that period it became clear to me the transformational potential of Cognitive Behaviour principles in managing overall wellbeing; emotional, mental and even physical. In fact these very principles were the foundation for the self help toolkit I developed for myself called CBTEACH™, which as the name suggests, was to "Teach myself about my own Cognitive Behaviour'.


Self help or self guided, whichever you prefer, is not therapy. So why not have the CB minus the T? Simple answer, it doesn't seem to exist.There appears to be a tacit acknowledgment within the field of psychology that CB can only be followed by T. A simple search on Google will prove the point.Need to know about Cognitive Behaviour? Get booked in for Therapy. These days that can be individual, group based or even online.


Herein lies the problem. While the therapeutic practice has undoubtedly been a major success, I feel the principles of Cognitive Behaviour have huge (largely untapped) potential to be transformational beyond the niche world of therapy.

Step one is to gain acknowledgment that the subject area of Cognitive Behaviour can exist in solo form. Step two is to recognise that the specific therapeutic practice known as CBT is but one area within the wider field of Cognitive Behaviour.


I want to see a world where everyone can learn about Cognitive Behaviour, its importance, its power and its implications in our life without having to book in with a therapist, because the reality is not everyone needs therapy, but everyone, yes everyone, needs to know about Cognitive Behaviour.

I also believe that separating the T from the CB, not only serves to protect the integrity of therapeutic practice (which seems to be under challenge), but creates a more inclusive and diverse environment for Cognitive Behaviour in general.


Now is the time to take out the T.

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