Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helped to change my life and get me to where I am today.
I still experience OCD every day of my life, but CBT provided me with an opportunity to talk to someone about my worst fears, and to have these fears explained to me. It provided me with an opportunity to face my fears, to understand them and develop coping strategies. Believe me when I say I was as scared of talking about my OCD and intrusive thoughts as anyone… but the talking therapists were able to reassure me that everything I was going through was perfectly normal, diagnosable and that I was not alone in this. Even if you find yourself unable to talk at first, just listening and having things explained to you will provide you with a pivotal sense of relief and understanding.
I couldn’t recommend CBT enough to someone experiencing OCD. Get help as soon as possible. Visit your doctor and ask them to direct you to your local talking therapists; a service that should be free!
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.
CBT is a type of talking treatment that focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviour, and teaches you coping skills for dealing with different problems.
It combines cognitive therapy (examining the things you think) and behaviour therapy (examining the things you do).
What’s the theory behind CBT?
CBT is based on the idea that the way we think about situations can affect the way we feel and behave. For example, if you interpret a situation negatively then you might experience negative emotions as a result, and those bad feelings might then lead you to behave in a certain way.
If your negative interpretation of situations goes unchallenged, then these patterns in your thoughts, feelings and behaviour can become part of a continuous cycle.
How does CBT work?
In CBT you work with a therapist to identify and challenge any negative thinking patterns and behaviour which may be causing you difficulties. In turn this can change the way you feel about situations, and enable you to change your behaviour in future.
You and your therapist might focus on what is going on in your life right now, but you might also look at your past, and think about how your past experiences impact the way you see the world.