Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

At some time in our lives most of us find ourselves feeling stressed, worried or low.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) can help you identify and overcome negative thoughts and emotions, and is a commonly used treatment for people suffering from depression, anxiety or stress.

CBT is often concerned with the problems that may be affecting you at present, but can also focus on experiences in the past. For example, a young person experiencing neglect may believe, wrongly, that this experience is their fault. In adult life they may continue to fear rejection and consequently avoid social contact. If patterns of thinking and acting in this way are repeated, upsetting feelings can become further reinforced by unhelpful behaviour and it becomes a cycle of unhelpful thinking, actions and consequences. CBT aims to help you change your patterns of thinking and behaviour to encourage different outcomes. 

CBT has a good evidence base and outcomes from CBT research are continually informing treatment programmes and the training of clinicians. This means that therapists will use the most up to date knowledge and skills to inform the therapy plan they make with you.

How long does it last?

A session of CBT is usually about an hour long, and the number of sessions you will receive is entirely dependent on an agreement between you and your therapist; a medium term therapy is around 20 sessions, but for those who would benefit more, this may take place for up to 2 years. CBT principles can be used with individuals, with small or large groups, or with family members or carers.

How do I register?

If you are 16 years and over and registered with a Plymouth GP you can self-refer to Plymouth Options by the following methods:


What happens next?

Once we receive your referral, a therapist from Plymouth Options will talk to you to assess if CBT is appropriate for you. Working with you, we will help develop your treatment plan and arrange access to CBT.

Plymouth Options offers two CBT options – you can either talk face to face with a therapist or you can access CBT online, allowing you to work at your own pace and access therapy whenever and wherever you like. If you would like to find out more about online CBT please click here.

Plymouth Options is not an acute service so is not suitable for people:

  • Who are a high risk to themselves or others, such as current risk of suicide or serious self-harm
  • Using other mental health services, such as the Community Mental Health Team
  • Who have current or severe and enduring mental health needs and as such require specialist services


If this service is not suitable for you and you feel at high risk to yourself or others please contact your GP or call 111.