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

What types of problems can CBT help with?

CBT is a relatively flexible therapy that can be adapted to meet your particular needs. Evidence suggests it can be an effective treatment for a range of mental health problems, such as:

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) particularly recommends CBT for depression and anxiety. There are also formal adaptations of CBT to treat particular mental health problems, such as phobias, PTSD and OCD.

CBT got me through my chronic health anxiety disorder. It was a tough six months, but I still use the skills I learnt over 10 years ago to rationalise with myself. 

CBT can also help you find new ways to cope with physical health problems, such as:

  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • chronic pain
  • habits or problems, such as facial tics
  • general health problems

Does CBT work without medication?

For some people CBT can work just as well as medication for treating problems like depression and anxiety disorders. 

Depending on the symptoms you experience, your doctor might suggest that a combination of CBT and medication, such as an antidepressant, might be more effective for you. If you want to discuss whether CBT is the right treatment for you, you can talk to your GP (also see our page on is CBT for me?).

I had CBT... when I had severe depression. It got me through a really tough time, from being suicidal and off work on long term sick [leave], to fully functioning again and now in a successful career. I found it worked really well in combination with antidepressants. It pulled me back from a very dark place and reintroduced structure to my life when I'd given up.


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

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