Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

What is CBT?

CBT is a collection of skills and techniques designed to help people deal with life problems more effectively. Through practice, people form new mental habits that drastically reduce symptoms, promote well being and prevent relapse.

The central principle of CBT is that our thoughts, feelings, physiology and behaviour all inter-relate and affect one another.

Changes in thoughts and behaviour can impact our moods and physical functioning.  When people are in distress (be it from depression, anxiety, body image concerns, substance abuse, etc.), it is often because of a downward spiral effect between these variables.  CBT aims to reverse that spiral to an upward momentum toward health.

Does it work?

Study after study has confirmed CBT’s effectiveness.  For more information please see:    CBT is often the treatment of choice for most anxiety disorders and bulimia.  CBT is recognized as an important component in the treatment of eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, and many other mental illnesses.

Why Groups?

Groups are the most effective way of learning CBT.  The hardest part about group therapy is often joining a group!  After the first session or two, the camaraderie of the group makes coming back easy.  Some people choose to do a few sessions of individual work to gain support for easing into a group. 

Is This for Me?

You are the best judge of that.  We do know that the people who get the most benefit out of CBT groups are those who are able and willing to participate during the sessions, and are committed to spend time between sessions practicing the skills.

If you are not sure if these groups are right for you, discuss the matter with your doctor, counsellor or another trusted support person. 

How do the Groups Work?

Each module focuses on CBT skills relevant to a particular type of symptom and runs for 5 or 10 weekly sessions of 80 minutes each.  The group size is usually between 4 to 12 students with 1 or 2 therapists.  Modules typically start at the beginning of term and after mid-terms.

Students must be referred by either their counsellor or doctor.  To register, and for more information, please contact Counselling Services, Ext. 53244. 

CBT Modules

  • Depression Module – This module focuses on learning and practicing various behavioural techniques, thought records and coping cards.  It is intended for people with moderate to severe depression or people with a history of depression who want to learn “depression proofing” skills.
  • Anxiety Module – People who participate in these sessions will learn to get rid of anxiety through the use of exposure hierarchies, thought records and image completion.
  • Core Belief Module – Core Beliefs are deeply held assumptions, usually based on early experiences, about ourselves and how the world works.  In this group, participants learn to identify maladaptive old core beliefs, create new positive beliefs and then strengthen these new beliefs.
  • The Goals Group Module – This module is designed for graduates of the other modules who want to continue learning and practicing CBT techniques within the supportive structure of a group.  The group content will be customized based on participants’ goals.

Useful websites:

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1