CBT Online Therapy UK

Learn what cognitive behavioural therapy is, and how CBT works online.

CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and is a very popular form of therapy today. It works by asking the patient to examine their "core beliefs", thoughts and feelings that might lead to unhealthy behaviours. It can assist with a wide range of mental health issues, including anxiety and depression.

What is CBT?

Our thoughts are connected to our feelings, and our feelings and thoughts dictate our actions. As explained in the definition given by BABCP (the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies), "if we change one of these we can alter all the others."

CBT is a talking therapy that takes this thoughts-feelings-behaviours connection into account.

CBT is a reliable and well-respected therapy with little chance of side effects. In the UK, the National Health Service undertook a systematic review of CBT data. As a result of their findings they committed to delivering more CBT, stating in a 2012 report:

"The evidence also showed that CBT could produce impressive recovery rates, and in many cases better prevent relapse, compared with medication alone."

A key idea in CBT is that of "core beliefs". These are deeply held perceptions of yourself, the world, and the people around you. Core beliefs influence how you think and therefore how you behave.

What are CBT "core beliefs"?

Working with your core belief is the mechanism by which CBT can help you. Considering, questioning and perhaps altering your core beliefs may lead you to a more healthy, effective way of thinking and of operating in the world.

Some examples of core beliefs that could be unhealthy:
  • "I am not deserving of love"
  • "I am not good enough at my job"
  • "I am not equipped to deal with the challenges of my life"
  • "I'm different to the people around me--they won't accept me"

Any of these core beliefs would be likely to have a negative impact on a person’s life and well-being.

A patient may not know the core belief that is causing them trouble, at least not consciously, or even recognise it if it were to be suggested to them. Part of CBT is to help a patient identify their core beliefs, and then challenge them.

If you want to read more about CBT in general, you may wish to view our blog post by Sarah Keeping, a member of the British Psychological Society

Does CBT help with anxiety/depression/anger/schizophrenia…?

Because of the broad-ranging nature of CBT (dealing with thoughts, feelings and behaviours), it can be effective to help with a wide range of mental health issues and disorders.

It is most often recommended for those who want to manage their anxiety or depression.

CBT can also be effective for anger management issues and schizophrenia.

The best way to find out if CBT could be suitable to help with your problems is to find a therapist that specialises in CBT and also in your problem.

What to expect in a CBT session?

CBT is a talking therapy and on the surface may not look very different to other forms of psychotherapy. You and your therapist will discuss in private your thoughts, feelings and actions. You will be encouraged to consider how these elements link to one another. A theme of CBT is "guided discovery". Your therapist may ask you to fill in worksheets or diagrams to help give structure to this process.

CBT works towards a specific goal. In your first session, your therapist will work with you to explore the issues you have and help you set goals. A goal is personal, but some examples might be:

  • "Go outside for a walk three times a day" for somebody who struggles to leave their house.

There is an element of "homework" in a CBT therapy session. CBT is about solving problems in your life outside of the therapy room. For this reason, therapists will give you weekly tasks to complete. These might involve goal setting and monitoring, or observing your thoughts and actions during the day and writing them down.

Ultimately, the goal of CBT is that a patient learns to act as "their own therapist". Ideally, they leave the therapy with their newly acquired self-knowledge, plus the techniques they have learned in the sessions, and the general principles of CBT. These remain available to them as tools they can make use of to combat the challenges they face in the future.

Partially for this reason, CBT tends to last for fewer sessions than other forms of therapy. Rather than continuing on an ongoing basis, there may be a predetermined number of visits to your therapist (for example, ten or twelve 50 minute sessions).

This may or may not be sufficient help for a patient. Patients can always continue with an ongoing form of therapy if they choose, or return to CBT in the future.

Can you do CBT alone?

Yes. There are a wide range of self-help guides, books and online courses available that do not involve a therapist.

Keep in mind that people do often respond better to therapy with a trained professional involved. Therefore, if you do wish to try self-help CBT, we suggest using it alongside formal sessions with an experienced therapist, who can get you started on the right track.

Can you do CBT with a UK therapist online?

Absolutely. CBT is a talking therapy and doesn't require any special equipment. As long as you hear the other person and they can hear you, you can have an effective and enjoyable online CBT process that will equip you with the coping tools you are looking for in your life.

For people not used to video calls, it can take a few sessions to get comfortable with them, but it just takes a little time. The therapist should do everything they can to help you, but if you're not sure about video calls, you could consider trying some video calls with your friends and family first.

How much are CBT sessions?

For CBT online therapy in the UK, there is no reason to expect a session to cost more or less than other standard forms of talking therapy. However, the costs can vary dramatically depending on the therapist. Therapists tend to see people in time slots of 50 minutes. For a CBT session of this length, the average cost is probably something in the region of £50-70. However, some therapists could charge over £100 for a 50-minute session.

On average, online therapy tends to be cheaper than having sessions in person. If you like the benefits of online therapy, such as the convenience and comfort of having therapy in your own home, the reduced cost makes it a very attractive option.

Where can I find a CBT therapist?

E-Therapy is a well-trusted therapy platform based in the UK that connects a range of therapists to those who need a little help. Patients can talk over secure, high-speed video or voice-only calls in the privacy of their own homes. Many of our therapists are experts in CBT therapy and will guide you through the process, teaching you the right way to perform the techniques and help pull you through when you get stuck.

You can see our list of therapists that provide CBT online UK services right here. Read some of their profiles and pick one for an initial session so you can meet them and find out how they can help you.

Read More About CBT: Articles On Our Blog | Trauma-Focused CBT | Cognitive Analytical Therapy (a similar therapy)

This article was researched and written by multiple E-Therapy contributors. Are you looking for help with issues relating to anxiety? Find an online therapist easily here, or contact us.