Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

Explains what cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is, what it is for, what happens during therapy and how to find a therapist.

Your stories

How CBT helped me beat the bully in my head.

Sarah blogs about how cognitive behaviour therapy helped her manage her anxiety disorder.

Posted on 27/11/2014

Therapy turned my life around

Dolly blogs about her successful therapy

Posted on 26/03/2010

Being diagnosed with depression

Posted on 25/09/2013

How can I find a CBT therapist?

Through the NHS

You might be able to access CBT on the NHS through:

  • Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT). This is an NHS programme which can provide CBT as a treatment for various mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. However, IAPT is not available in all areas and the waiting lists can be long. You can find out whether IAPT services are available near you through the IAPT website.
  • Your GP surgery. Some counsellors and psychologists offer CBT on the NHS at GP surgeries. 
  • Your community mental health team (CMHT). Some nurses, doctors, occupational therapists and clinical psychologists working in CMHTs may also provide CBT. 
  • Some NHS Trusts  have specialist therapy services. 

 Your GP may be able to give you information about local services. 

I still get anxious but CBT helped me to gain insight and perspective. It was the start of my journey to recovery, though not the only part. I did a 6 week CBT course through IAPT.

Through the private sector

You may want to consider seeing a therapist privately – but be aware that private therapists usually charge for appointments. You can find a private therapist through:

Your therapist's qualifications

It's good practice for a therapist to be a member of a professional body, such as the BACPBABCPthe UKCP or The British Psychological Society (BPS). You can ask them about their professional qualifications and training. You can also check these with their professional body.

For more information about finding a therapist, see our pages on accessing talking treatments and seeking help through the private sector.


This information was published in February 2015. We will revise it in 2018.

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