Skip main navigation

Expert view: What is CBT?

How is CBT delivered and what difficulties it can be used for? Watch Professor Shirley Reynolds explain more.

Please watch this video, where Professor Reynolds introduces you to CBT and explains how it can be delivered and what difficulties it can be used for. You’ll find out some of the key points in this clip. Essentially:

  • CBT is a type of psychotherapy (or ‘talking’ therapy). You can read more about this approach on the NHS website.

  • CBT was pioneered by Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s. You can find more information about the history of this approach on the Beck Institute website.

  • It is a very collaborative treatment with active involvement from both therapist and patient. It focuses on the patient’s current difficulties and what is maintaining them.

  • It is typically delivered face to face with a therapist over 10 to 12 sessions, each being around 50 minutes (although this may be less).

  • It can also be delivered in a variety of other formats including over the phone, over the internet (eg using an online programme) or within a group setting).

  • It was originally developed to treat depression back in the 1960s. However, since then, CBT has been adapted to treat various forms of anxiety and other mental health difficulties (eg eating disorders).

  • More recently, CBT has been developed as an intervention to help manage long term physical health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

  • CBT is heavily researched; more than 1000 studies have demonstrated the efficacy of CBT as a treatment for mental health difficulties and it has also been shown to be an effective way of managing physical health difficulties.

This article is from the free online

Understanding Anxiety, Depression and CBT

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now