Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

At Achieving Balance, I offer Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as one of several talking therapy approaches. CBT aims to help you to develop strategies to break the vicious cycles that maintain your difficulties. CBT is collaborative  – we work together as a team to help you overcome your challenges, whether you are suffering from emotional issues, such as anxiety or depression, or would simply like to work on your personal development.

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

CBT is highly structured, with mutually agreed agendas being set, not only for the therapy treatment as a whole, but also on a session-by-session basis. This helps to keep the therapy focussed and the duration of therapy to a minimum, sometimes allowing very specific difficulties to be worked through within a matter of a few sessions.

More complex or entrenched difficulties may take longer, but the intention is always to work as briefly as possible. Insights from sessions are not usually enough to bring about long-lasting change and therefore clients and therapists agree tasks and activities to be undertaken between sessions. For CBT in more detail, you can read my CBT article here.

We Feel the Way We Think

A very simplified but useful CBT expression is “we feel the way we think”. In other words, the way we feel about an event is largely dictated by our perception of the event rather than the event itself. This is not to say that negative feelings can be extinguished by positive thinking – if only! When something bad happens we will naturally feel bad – this is part of the way human beings process an event in order to be able to eventually move on. However, CBT suggests the intensity or quality of the bad feeling is, by and large, dictated by our perception of the event.

Is CBT for You?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can be extremely effective but, like all talking therapies, it’s not for everyone. If you believe your issues will only be resolved through an extensive and lengthy examination of your past, then other therapies might be better suited to you. Do you think you can “suspend your disbelief” and be open-minded enough to try out different ways of thinking and behaving, just to see if these can make a difference? Do you think you are motivated enough to carry out between-session tasks? Are you prepared to be open with your therapist if you have misgivings about the therapy so that you can both have a frank discussion to try and resolve the issues? Do you think that, with some help, you would be able to be specific about the problems you are experiencing – CBT is problem-focussed and goal-orientated and therefore both have to be specified in enough detail to ensure you and your therapist have a shared understanding of what is wrong and what you want to be different. CBT is most definitely a team effort and is therefore a therapy that is done with you, not to you.

In fact, the aim of CBT – over time – is for you to become your own therapist, taking control of the process and being able to more confidently take on the challenges life inevitably presents. Part of this process is an acceptance that, while outside factors may have significantly contributed to your current difficulties, it is ultimately your responsibility to improve matters. This can be a frightening prospect but it can also be very freeing and empowering when you realise you can stop relying on others to make things better for you.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy at Achieving Balance

If you are interested in trying Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, I recommend you call several CBT therapists to see which one seems most suitable for you and your needs. At Achieving Balance, I offer a free 20 minute telephone consultation. If we agree that I might be able to help you, we will arrange an assessment appointment. This is a get-to-know-you session where you can ask any further questions about my practice and I can begin to get a more rounded picture of you, the difficulties you are experiencing and your hopes for therapy. We can then agree a way forward in terms of an initial number of sessions and goals for therapy. We will then meet on a regular, pre-determined basis for our sessions.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy should feel like a coherent course of treatment rather than a series of random unconnected sessions. Indeed, regular attendance is one of the best predictors for a successful therapeutic outcome. Initially, we might agree to meet weekly, with sessions spreading further apart as therapy progresses and you begin to “take the reins” of your treatment. At the end of each predetermined block of sessions, we will review progress and decide how to proceed. While it is important to have regular sessions, these can be booked around your life and so they can be at different times and days and may include Skype or telephone sessions if you are unable to make face-to-face sessions.

If you are interested in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, I am an NHS trained, BABCP accredited CBT therapist with many years experience and I offer a free, 20-minute consultation. Please feel free to contact me on 020 7096 8854 or email me at I am available from 8.30am to 6.30pm Monday to Thursday, and Friday mornings.

About Martin

Martin Cox Msc., Qualified Therapist And Counsellor In LondonI am a fully trained and accredited counsellor, psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, and Cognitive Behavioural (CBT) Therapist. I am down-to-earth, easy to talk to and always balance a thoroughly professional approach with a good deal of common sense and humanity. Read more about me or my approach to therapy.

Issues Treated

Generalised Anxiety Disorder
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Health Anxiety / Hypochondriasis
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Panic Disorder
Phobias, i.e. Agoraphobia
Bereavement and loss
Depression/low mood
Anger management
Personal development and coaching
Social Anxiety (or Social Phobia)
Relationship issues
Self esteem
Habits & Addictions
Smoking Cessation
Coping with Stress
Weight management

Therapies Offered

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Couple/marital therapy
  • Counselling (Integrative)
  • Family therapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Neuro Linguistic Progamming (NLP)
  • Psychotherapy (Integrative)
  • Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT)

CBT Testimonials

  • Several years ago I had a sudden panic attack on an aeroplane and was unable to fly at all. The panic attack was due to claustrophobic fears and being shut into a “tube” and having no control of being able to open a door for fresh air. This transferred onto going in lifts and underground trains. This all had a huge impact on my life and restricted me severely. I was not able to visit the theatre in the West End and other London attractions including the London Eye or go on holidays abroad. Friends would go to exhibitions, theatres etc and I felt I could not face the journey or sit in a dark theatre or cinema without being able to see a clear exit sign.

    Two years ago, my son announced he was to be married in Thailand. It absolutely threw my life into turmoil and I was very depressed and angry that he would expect me to make this long journey. Finally, I thought that this was controlling my life and I really needed to do something as I would only ever travel by car which was ridiculous. I made an appointment with Martin and was quite nervous about being hypnotised. Immediately I sat down on a most comfortable chair I felt completely at ease with Martin talking to me with a calm, reassuring and soothing voice.

    Martin took me on a journey that would change my life completely with several sessions on travelling in lifts, the underground and finally flying. I remember after the first session I was able to go in lifts again, even getting stuck in the first one and being in control! At each session of visualisation techniques, positive suggestions and looking for the root cause of my problems, Martin made me feel more positive and pleasantly relaxed. I have a CD of Martin’s which I listen to and it makes me feel relaxed just to hear his soothing calm voice. He is an excellent listener and seems to have all the time in the world for you. Martin will guide you into hypnosis and help you discover your inner resources, so you can resolve for good whatever problems or issues you may have. He has enabled me to become the person I really want to be and to achieve my full potential!

    The effect of the therapy for me was life changing. At first I tried several different flights with my daughter and we had the most amazing time on a Mediterranean fly/cruise and the next year a stunning visit to Rome. I also travelled with her to see several West End Musicals which I really love to do and now go to exhibitions, the cinema and many other places I would not visit. The ultimate experience was to be able to attend my son’s wedding, (six flights, visiting Dubai, Bangkok and Koh Samui) and to see parts of the world I would never have been able to see if it were not for Martin. He has brought the world to me and I cannot thank him enough for opening up my own world again and giving me the confidence to know “I CAN DO IT”. I would and have, highly recommended Martin and would not hesitate to see him again if I ever needed to.

    A Claustrophobic Client in London
    Psychotherapy for Claustrophobia
  • I had a fear of being sick, especially at school when others around me were ill, so two years ago my mum and I visited Martin to see if he could help. His sessions made me feel calmer, safe and more in control of myself when these fears appeared. His relaxation CD was very helpful and I used for months afterwards. I would definitely recommend a visit to “Achieving Balance” to anyone who had fears or phobias.

    A Young Student (with kind permission and help from his mum)
    Counselling & CBT for Phobic Behaviour
  • The first time I looked at your website I cried. It made me realise I needed help. Not only was I struggling with weight loss, I was finding life in general quite hard to cope with and felt I was constantly anxious and stressed. I felt like I was not in the right frame of mind to lose weight and in a rut. It took me a long time to build up the courage to come and see you and after my first appointment I felt like a weight had been lifted and so relieved to know that you could help me. It didn’t take too long to get me back on track. All what you said had a massive effect and enabled me to re-focus and sort my life out. My time with you has undoubtedly had a big impact. I am much happier, calmer, confident and over 2 stone lighter! I now have a strengthened relationship with my husband, son, work and food! All of this has given me the push to move house and start my own business which I am thrilled about. I have recommended you to several people for different reasons. I know that whatever the problem, coming to see you will help. My only regret is that I didn’t come a year earlier. I cannot thank you enough for all you done, I hope that I do not need to re-visit, but if i do, I certainly won’t hesitate in booking an appointment.

    A Young Mother in London
    Counselling for Weight Loss
  • I first visited Martin a couple of years ago about a work issue that was causing me anxiety. Having always battled with anxiety and bouts of depression, I’d seen a few therapists in the past but not felt that any of them had made a huge difference. After my very first session with Martin, I already felt able to deal with the work issue and had high hopes for my anxiety. I saw Martin regularly to begin with and by using CBT, he has taught me how to look at things in a completely different way and I feel confident that my depression and anxiety is under control. Martin is very easy to talk to and down to earth, I instantly felt at ease with him and have enjoyed every one of my sessions with him.

    A London Professional
    CBT for Depression & Anxiety
  • I am used to solving my own problems. Until one day life just about tore me to shreds and left me totally vulnerable, unable to see any value in the future. I turned to Martin for help, and from the first phone call I liked his approach, the calmness in his manner made me feel comfortable from the start. During our sessions Martin created a safe environment in which I was able to step out of the trauma and slowly rebuild my own sense of “self”. Martin introduced practical therapy techniques in a very natural manner – it was like opening a window you didn’t realize was there and letting in fresh air – and suddenly I was able to visualise new solutions for myself.

    I think this was one of the aspects I most appreciated, always being part of the solution, there was never any feeling of being judged at all. When I chose Martin as my therapist it was on the basis of his outstanding academic background and experience: but I found out that the therapist’s personality is just as important a factor, and in my case the calmness and the kindness of his approach meant that I could venture into “dangerous emotional waters” without anxiety or fear. My whole family has felt the benefit of Martin’s work with me, and I am deeply grateful to him for helping me find my way forward.

    A Senior Executive in London
    Counselling for Challenging Relationship Issues
  • I wanted to thank you so much for helping me over the past year – I’ve learnt so much about myself and about how to deal with things in a positive way.

    A Gentleman from South London
    Skype™ Therapy for Positive Thinking