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West London NHS Trust > Patients and carers > Treatments and medication > Cognitive behaviour therapy

Cognitive behaviour therapy

Cognitive behaviour therapy helps a person to think in a different way about things, so changing patterns of negative behaviour.

At WLMHT, a therapist will look at the whole person rather than just the symptoms of their mental illness, enabling a person to realise their strengths and make changes that have a positive effect on their wellbeing.

Focusing on current behaviour

The focus is on person’s current state of mind and the present situation rather than what may have caused distress in the past. A therapist looks at a specific problem and the way that it made a person think, feel and act. The aim is to show how each of these negative patterns of perceiving things can cause negative reactions.
A therapist helps a person to change the way they process certain ideas, so that they understand experiences, events and relationships differently. A person is shown how to better manage their symptoms. This creates hope and the means to set achievable goals for building a satisfying life, regardless of the mental illness.

Effective treatment for depression

Cognitive behaviour therapy is one of the most effective treatments for treating anxiety, and both moderate and severe depression. It has been shown to be as effective as taking antidepressants.
It is often used to treat depression, particularly when the depression causes a person to put a negative spin on most thoughts without realising it. It is used to help change those negative perceptions. In this way, a person with depression can see problems more objectively and think about ways of solving them, rather than feeling defeated and letting them build up so that they are unmanageable.
Many of the symptoms of schizophrenia can be treated with cognitive behaviour therapy. It can stop the need for stable people with the condition to be admitted to hospital, increase social skills and decrease distress from symptoms such as voices, hallucinations and delusions. It has also shown to be beneficial in treating negative symptoms such as flat moods, and decreased pleasure and emotion.

Treatment at WLMHT

At WLMHT, cognitive behaviour therapy encourages a person to be actively involved in making changes. Working in an equal partnership with a therapist, views and reactions are explored. A person is fully involved in all aspects of their care and, for example, can make decisions about new approaches for dealing with issues or problems arising from negative thoughts and behaviour.
The proactive approach at WLMHT can help a person address the ways that their mental illness may have affected their ability to work, study, have relationships or participate in society.