Cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based psychological intervention. The main premise of CBT is that mental health problems can develop because of learnt ways of thinking and behaving and that learning new ways of thinking and behaving can have a positive impact on emotions and well-being. In other words, CBT helps us to develop insight into our inner experience and to make calmer, more reasoned decisions. Identifying and reframing unhelpful thinking patterns can take time. However, the results can be powerful.


CBT usually focusses on the following:

  • Identifying automatic negative thoughts (ANTS) such as “I’m hopeless, failing, or unlikeable”
  • Identifying thinking traps that may lead to ANTs, such as black and white thinking, overgeneralising, focussing on negatives, mind-reading, fortune telling, catastrophising, personalising, unfair labelling, and emotional reasoning
  • Identifying emotions that may result from ANTs, such as sadness, anger, fear, and shame
  • Identifying unhelpful behaviours that may result from ANTs, such as withdrawing from people or drinking too much alcohol
  • Reframing ANTs using realistic and flexible thinking, which can help us to feel less sad, angry, scared and/or ashamed and to behave in more productive ways