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A Complete Overview of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy


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Just like an all-powerful ruler, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is normally considered to be the most supreme among all other therapies. It is a form of psychotherapy that is widely practiced by best psychologists in Dubai and world-wide. It also dominates the field of psychotherapy research by being the most experimented and evidenced therapeutic approach of all times. To further add to its credit, CBT in Dubai has a wide base of application – being applicable to virtually every other mental health condition.


History of CBT:

Before we dive into understanding the nature of this ruler, let us look at the history to explore the reasons that caused its subsequent rise. Like any other event, it is important to examine the past which led to and fueled the growth of CBT world-wide. In its earliest stages, the field of psychotherapy was largely dominated by psychoanalysis. Its increased emphasis on unconscious mental processes and childhood memories was not well received by all, and this ruler was overthrown by an incoming ruler – Behavioural Therapy (BT). BT did things differently – stated that only observable behaviour fell into the purview of psychology, and that the environment was the causal factor of all observable behaviour. Its rigid and deterministic attitude did not sit well with all his subjects and in came a new ruler, Cognitive Therapy (CT). Instead of focusing on observable behaviour, CT laid emphasis on one’s thoughts and beliefs as constituting the core of psychology. It prophesied that changing one’s thoughts would bring about a change in one’s behaviour. However, there was one strong drawback among all these rulers – they all acted independently and far from each other, keeping their beliefs and values completely separate from those of others.


A foreign ruler, CBT, was witnessing all this chaos in the field of psychotherapy. It realized that the only way to dominate all other rulers would be to combine and form an undeniably strong pool of resources. Thus, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy came into power by combining the beliefs and strategies of Cognitive Therapy and Behavioural Therapy. It stressed on both the role of thoughts and behaviour, and believed that combining these two would produce significant therapeutic change. psychologist Dubai, therapy for depression, therapy for anxiety, therapy for panic attacks.


Core Tenets of CBT:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a type of psychotherapeutic approach which helps people identify and change their faulty or distorted thinking patterns, ultimately bringing about a change in their behaviour and emotions. It was pioneered by the work of Aaron Beck who largely employed CBT to treat clients suffering from depression. He focused on the cognitive triad - thoughts about the self, the world and the future. By and large, CBT is based on the principle of interconnected systems – it views one’s thoughts, emotions and behaviour to be interconnected to each other. With such an understanding, modifying one’s thought patterns is sufficient in bringing about a change in how they feel and behave. It further proceeds to correct these faulty thoughts by employing both cognitive and behavioural strategies:

  • It aims at ‘cognitive restructuring’ where clients are asked to provide evidences that either support or discredit their faulty thoughts

  • Behavioural experiments, role-playing, modelling and social-skills training are some of the behavioural techniques used to help clients replace faulty behaviour with healthy behaviour patterns, along with providing them ample opportunity to learn and practice it during therapy sessions. psychologist Dubai, therapy for depression, therapy for anxiety, therapy for panic attacks, best online therapy in dubai


Characteristics of CBT:

When we engage in therapy with a CBT-driven therapist, we find that certain characteristics set them apart from others: psychologist Dubai, therapy for depression, therapy for anxiety, therapy for panic attacks.

  • CBT focuses on the here-and-now. Problems are examined in the present by focusing on the current set of negative thoughts and beliefs contributing to it

  • It is highly empirical-based. It focuses on utilizing only those techniques and strategies that have been evidenced to promote change during therapy

  • It is a highly collaborative process between the therapist and the client. The client is also very actively involved in the therapy process by engaging in constant interactions, activities during sessions and homework between sessions.

  • CBT believes in concretely identifying and prioritizing the goals of therapy. These goals further guide the treatment plan and prognosis

  • Sessions are highly structured in nature. Beginning with a formal assessment questionnaire, each session has an agenda that the therapist religiously sticks to. There is very limited scope for flexibility or spontaneous change to the treatment plan

  • Psychoeducation and homework are integral components of CBT. The therapist focuses on educating the client about the nature of his problem, the treatment plan, the potential challenges and obstacles, and the estimated prognosis of his problem. On the other hand, the client is expected to complete the homework tasks assigned to him so as to facilitate change between sessions

  • CBT spans over a shorter duration compared to other psychotherapeutic approaches. It is usually applauded for requiring fewer therapy sessions to bring about significant improvement in clients. psychologist Dubai, therapy for depression, therapy for anxiety, therapy for panic attacks.

Application of CBT to treat disorders:

It is often a matter of concern as to which therapeutic approach would suit a disorder. Various factors such as the nature and conceptualization of the disorder, the core tenets of the therapeutic approach, the training of the therapist, the organization’s policies and the feasibility of the approach determine the application of different therapeutic styles. In relation to these factors, CBT emerges at the top again. Most disorders can be conceptualized in terms of faulty thinking patterns and cognition, ergo a correction here is believed to bring about relief to the client. Most therapists and organizations world-wide are trained in and accepting of CBT as an evidence-based treatment modality. Lastly, given its highly focused structure and shorter duration span, CBT has been widely chosen by therapists and clients alike. Thus, CBT today can be applied to treat a wide range of mental disorders. These include, but are not limited to – depression, anxiety, social phobia, eating disorders, personality disorders, addiction, panic attacks, bipolar disorder, chronic pain, grief, sleep disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder…and so on. Indeed, CBT almost feels like a single solution to the treatment of many problems! online counseling Dubai, online therapy Dubai, best therapist Dubai, wellness Dubai, treatment for depression, therapy for anxiety, trauma therapy

Indications and Contraindications of CBT:

While we understand and accept CBT as a viable treatment modality, we must also consider those disorders where it may be most suited and those where CBT may be the least preferred.


Indications - In adult clients, CBT is indicated in cases of depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, personality disorders, substance abuse disorder and chronic pain. While working with children, a more child-friendly version of CBT is indicated to treat tourette’s syndrome, oppositional defiant disorders, anxiety and depression. Research also indicates that CBT works well alongside medication.


Contraindications - For clients with a long and chronic history of mental illness, CBT may not be well indicated and medications would take precedence. Further, clients with limited intellectual functioning may not benefit with the cognitively-demanding CBT sessions. It is also very necessary to adapt CBT to fit the age of the client (i.e. made age-appropriate for use with children). Lastly, in cases of comorbid conditions, CBT should be used with caution.

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The Future of CBT:

The beauty of psychology lies in the fact that with changing times, environmental demands and needs of people, there is a modification in the nature of services available for therapy. Best psychologist in Dubai at kaizen wellbeing, online therapy. One such example is found in the emergence of third-wave therapies as an offshoot of traditional CBT. While CBT believes in modifying negative thought processes, third-wave therapies emphasize observance and acceptance of these thoughts as being fleeting and momentary in nature. There is always a modification in the strategies and tools used by different therapeutic approaches with time. However, the core idea behind these always remains the same – provide relief, support and guidance to those in need.


This article was written by Ms. Trivedi, a therapist at Kaizen Wellbeing in Dubai. She is a passionate mental health advocate who believes that mental health services should be accessible and available to all. She believes that people are strong and powerful with immense capacity to become the best versions of themselves. Book your first therapy session with Ms. Trivedi on Kaizen Wellbeing and begin your therapy journey with us.


Kaizen Wellbeing is an online therapy platform in Dubai, UAE that caters to South Asian community. There is a dearth of good therapy establishments that accommodate the mental health needs of the brown community. We aim to bridge that gap by providing you quality and affordable care by qualified and warm therapists. Reach out at hello@kaizenwb.com or +971 50 961 8796 or simply book a session with us following this link.

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