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How CBT Works

CBT is based on the idea that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are all linked, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle.

CBT aims to help you deal with overwhelming problems in a more positive way, exploring how to break these negative patterns to improve the way you feel and find more positive thinking patterns to address your difficulties.


Within life we can all find certain situations difficult, a specific incident or life event can trigger negative thoughts. For example, you may have a challenging situation at work this could trigger negative thoughts of, I’m rubbish, I’m useless, a failure. Then you may begin to feel low and withdraw from situations. Over time this can filter into different areas of your life and you begin to distance yourself from others and things you used to enjoy. This can then become a negative cycle you get stuck in.

Click here for a diagram which gives an example of how our thoughts, feelings, behaviours and physical sensations are all linked. This example is linked to low mood and depression but the model can be relevant to many other mental health difficulties.

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