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Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you make sense of overwhelming problems by breaking them down into smaller parts. It focuses on 5 main areas situations, thoughts, emotions, physical feelings and behaviours. It hypothesises that all five are interconnected and affecting each other

CBT is highly structured, collaborative and present focused. You and your therapist discuss specific problems and set goals for you to achieve focused on current problems. It is  mainly concerned with how you think and act now rather than attempting to resolve past issues. It is aimed at stopping negative thought cycles as there are helpful and unhelpful ways of reacting to a situation, often determined by how you think about them.

For example, if you have been made redundant in your job you might think that you've failed and that you're not capable of getting another meaningful job . This could lead to you feeling hopeless, depressed and tired, so you stop doing things that you used to enjoy. You become trapped in a negative cycle, sitting at home alone and feeling bad about yourself. But rather than accepting this way of thinking you could accept that many people lose their jobs for a variety of reasons and the best thing would be to learn from this and move on. This will make you feel more optimistic about the future. This optimism could result in you becoming more active and start applying for new jobs or even retrain to embark on a new career. This is a simplified example, but it illustrates how certain thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions can trap you in a negative cycle and even create new situations that make you feel worse about yourself.

CBT aims to stop negative cycles such as these by breaking then down and making your problems more manageable. In this way it can help you change your negative thought patterns and improve the way you feel. It aims to help you get to a point where you can achieve this on your own and tackle problems without the help of a therapist.

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