Introduction to CBT

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that has been shown to be effective for depression and anxiety, as well as supporting habit change, and other mental health problems. It is a relatively new form of therapy, first introduced in the 1980’s, and here have been many different versions of CBT since then. It is one of the most well studied methods of therapy. It can not only help people feel better in the short term, but is also effective at supporting lasting changes to support positive mental health for life.

One of the foundations of CBT is the idea that cognitions (or thoughts) interact with behaviours (things someone does) in a back and forth manner, and both of these are influenced by a person’s environment and a set of core beliefs a person holds about themselves and the world around them

The aim of therapy is to help a person really understand their cognitions, behaviours, and beliefs, and help them determine if they are adaptive (ones that promote positive mental health and quality of life) or maladaptive (ones that promote negative mental health). Once that is understood, the intervention is to help change those maladaptive cognitions, behaviours and beliefs to adaptive ones.

The exercises in this course are a set of some of the most commonly used exercises in CBT. The purpose of this course is to help students understand how they can use these principles in their own lives – it does not train students to practice CBT on others. However, do feel free to share this course and the ideas in it if you think it might be of value to someone else.

Should you find this course interesting, and would like to continue talking about it with a counsellor who is trained in practicing CBT, these worksheets can form a good starting point.