CBT achieves the best outcome when we work together on the key issues that are affecting you. This process is likely to take time and lots of effort to maximise success. At the beginning of each session we will jointly identify how we can best use the session so it would be helpful to think beforehand what you want to talk about.
We will need to meet regularly – either weekly or fortnightly to deal with your difficulties. The length of therapy partly depends on how long you have been experiencing your difficulties and the number of issues you want to work on. Anything from 5 -20 treatment sessions may be needed. Occasionally we may decide to extend this in order to tackle some longer term issues.
The exercises you do in between sessions are a vital part of cognitive behavioural therapy. All the research shows that persevering with the exercises and practising the new coping skills you are learning reduces the time needed in treatment and improves your progress. This will mean setting time aside in your week to do these assignments.
The progress you make may at times feel slow and setbacks may also occur. This is a normal part of the change process and if you can stick with it, the setbacks will pass and it will get easier. Progress is usually helped by thinking about what has been discussed in each session. Making notes about the key learning from each session can also be helpful.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is time limited and so we will have regular reviews to make sure you are happy with the progress you are making. A review after about 8-10 sessions usually works well. However if you want an earlier review please let me know. It is important that you think about how well the therapy is meeting your needs and if you have any concerns to let me know. CBT is flexible and can be modified or changed as needed.
Therapy cannot guarantee that you will never be distressed again. What it can do is provide you with ways of understanding and coping with your difficulties in future.
Many psychological difficulties have had cognitive behavioural self help books written about them. They are a very useful complement to the therapy sessions. If you have not had any reading recommended to you please ask for details of any relevant books that are available.