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Cognitive-behavioural therapy

What is cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy and who is it for? 

What is cognitive-behavioral therapy ?

Cognitive-behavioural therapies (CBT) aim to deal with the mental suffering of patients through a methodology directly derived from the experimental method applied to the individual case of a person. 
They propose a model of human functioning based on learning theories. Thus, the basic principle of CBTs considers that maladaptive behaviour (a phobia, for example) is based on learning linked to previous experiences experienced by the subject during similar situations. 
Cognitive-behavioural therapies, therefore, aim to replace the subject’s maladaptive behaviour with behaviour that is more adapted to his or her environment through new learning.

Principles and objectives of cognitive-behavioural therapy

CBTs have 3 specific characteristics: 

  • they are based on research and understanding of the causes of the subject’s problematic behaviours 

  • they aim to bring about a lasting change in behaviours that are detrimental to the subject’s well-being 

  • they describe treatment procedures in an objective and reproducible manner from one therapist to another (for patients with similar problems)

CBT adapts to each patient and continues to evolve regularly according to the contributions of various practitioners. It is practised in the form of individual or group sessions. Its aim is to explain and accompany the patient’s disorders, not through his past history, but through his present situation: his social and professional environment, his beliefs, his recent feelings and emotions. Cognitive-behavioural therapy aims to modify the patient’s thoughts, his way of interpreting events to ultimately impact his way of acting. 
CBT confronts the patient with situations he considers stressful to help him modify the beliefs that are at the root of his fears, anxieties and suffering. In this type of therapy, the patient is an actor in his or her own recovery and is given tools to practice between sessions. The therapist has, for the subject, a role of partner and companion on the road to recovery. 

Who is cognitive-behavioural therapy for ?

Cognitive-behavioural therapy is intended for people with anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias (social or specific), or obsessive-compulsive disorders.
It is also effective for patients with depression, sleep disorders and eating disorders. 

Finally, children are also potential patients for CBT to accompany them in the face of school phobias, behavioural disorders, and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders.