There are four important stages in CBT treatment. You and your therapist work together at each stage:
|1 Assessment stage|
|2 Cognitive stage|
|3 Behaviour stage|
|4 Learning stage|
In the Assessment stage, you and your therapist get to know each other. Your therapist usually forms a treatment plan, and often has some idea about how long your treatment might take.
In the Cognitive stage, you and your therapist work together to understand your thoughts. You might spend some time discussing past events that have made you think the way you do.
In the Behaviour stage, you and your therapist work together to find new patterns of thinking. You apply your new patterns of thinking to new behaviours.
In the Learning stage, you and your therapist work together to make sure that the changes are permanent. You learn how to use the principles of CBT for yourself in future, so that you can cope with future events without needing any more therapy.
The four stages are not always separate. They can get a bit mixed up. This is because CBT is not a rigid system of therapy with fixed rules. But successful CBT always has all four stages.
The following sections describe each stage in more detail:
- Stage 1: Forming an alliance
- Stage 2: Understanding your thoughts
- Stage 3: Working with behaviour
- Stage 4: Being your own therapist
For some information about what makes CBT effective, see: Effective CBT