Dr Ian Norman      

Cognitive Behavioural Therapist

Online Psychological Support and Counselling

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What is CBT?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy which is proven to help people overcome their mental health difficulties or find better ways of managing them.  It incorporates a range of therapeutic techniques, all of which are based on the central idea that the way we think (our cognitions) and the way we act (our behaviour) shape the way we feel (our emotions). Therefore, by changing the way we think or act, we can change the way we feel for the better.   

The British Association of Cognitive & Behavioural Psychotherapies (BABCP) has made a short film to explain the basic principles of CBT. This is available here.

What happens in CBT appointments?  

The initial assessment

First, I will ask you to complete and return a short questionnaire. Then, in the first appointment, we will discuss what has brought you to therapy and your goals and expectations.  We will explore your current difficulties, looking at how these affect your thoughts and emotions, your physical feelings and the way you behave.  Together we will start to understand how your difficulties have come about and how they are being maintained.  This assessment appointment usually lasts between 60 and 90 minutes.

If CBT does seem suitable for you I will explain the treatment options, answer your questions and discuss any concerns you might have.  There is no obligation for you to proceed to therapy, and  it is completely up to you whether to book another appointment. You might want to take some time to consider whether CBT is right for you, and if so, whether I am the right therapist for you to work with.

Subsequent appointments

CBT is a time-limited therapy. If you decide to proceed to therapy, most people have between six and 16 one-hour sessions, either weekly or fortnightly. In these sessions you and I will work out together how you can change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours. You will then practise these changes in your daily life, and in the next session we will discuss how you got on.  

The overall goal of therapy is for you to become your own therapist. This means that when the course of therapy has finished, you will have the skills you need to deal with new problems as they arise.


Everything we discuss in the initial assessment or subsequent sessions is completely confidential.  The only exception is if I think that you are a danger to yourself or others, at which point I am required by my professional code of conduct to inform your GP or other relevant agency.  If this happens I will make every effort to discuss my concerns with you in advance and seek your agreement.  

See my privacy policy here.

Copyright Ian Norman 2021