The Pros and Cons of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be as effective as medication in treating some mental health problems, but it may not be successful or suitable for everyone.
Some of the advantages of CBT include:
- it may be helpful in cases where medication alone hasn’t worked
- it can be completed in a relatively short period of time compared with other talking therapies
- the highly structured nature of CBT means it can be provided in different formats, including in groups, self-help books and apps.
- it teaches you useful and practical strategies that can be used in everyday life, even after the treatment has finished
Some of the disadvantages of CBT to consider include:
- you need to commit yourself to the process to get the most from it – a therapist can help and advise you, but they need your cooperation
- attending regular CBT sessions and carrying out any extra work between sessions can take up a lot of your time
- it may not be suitable for people with more complex mental health needs or learning difficulties, as it requires structured sessions
- it involves confronting your emotions and anxieties – you may experience initial periods where you’re anxious or emotionally uncomfortable
- it focuses on the person’s capacity to change themselves (their thoughts, feelings and behaviours) – this doesn’t address any wider problems in systems or families that often have a significant impact on someone’s health and wellbeing
Some critics also argue that because CBT only addresses current problems and focuses on specific issues, it doesn’t address the possible underlying causes of mental health conditions, such as an unhappy childhood.
For more information about counselling and therapy, the following resources may be helpful.
- Canadian Professional Counsellors Association. https://www.cpca-rpc.ca
- Canadian Mental Health Association. www.cmha.ca
- Canadian Counseling and Psychotherapy Association. https://www.ccpa-accp.ca
- The Federation of Associations for Counselling Therapists in B C. https://www.factbc.org
- Counselling Psychology. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/ed/graduate/specialize/counseling.aspx
- Psychology Help Centre. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/
- Who needs counselling? PsychCentral. https://psychcentral.com/lib/who-needs-counseling-10-therapy-myths-dispelled/
Source: Adapted from information provided by National health Service (UK) open licence.