We have a qualified and accredited CBT therapist, who has many years of experience working with people with HIV and who are experiencing a range of emotional or psychological difficulties. CBT is a ‘talking therapy’ known to be helpful with a range of difficulties such as low mood or depression, worry and anxiety, low self-esteem, sleep problems and stress. These are all quite common problems. Coming to terms with an HIV diagnosis can be a particularly challenging time and therapy can help you adjust to this and cope with additional concerns about your diagnosis, disclosure, health concerns, treatment and relationships.

The basis of CBT is that what people think affects how they feel and how they behave. During times of mental distress the way a person sees and judges themselves and the things that happen to them alters. Things tend to become extreme and unhelpful. This can worsen how a person feels and then they may behave in a way that prolongs their distress and keeps their problems going. CBT can help you to make sense of overwhelming problems by breaking them down into smaller parts. This makes it easier to see how they are connected and how they affect you. In all situations, we respond with a variety of thoughts, physical feelings, emotions and behaviours. Each of these areas can affect the others. How you think about a problem can affect how you feel physically and emotionally. It can also alter what you do about it. There are helpful and unhelpful ways of reacting to most situations, depending on how you think about them.

CBT can help you identify and change how you think (cognitive) and what you do (behaviour). In doing this, the result is often a major improvement in how a person feels and lives.

CBT is recognised as an effective treatment for many emotional and psychological issues and is therefore recommended by NICE (National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence). Your GP, consultant or support worker may also suggest this type of treatment may be beneficial for you.

If you feel this may be helpful for you, please discuss this with your support worker who can make a referral for you to the CBT service. This service is available for registered service users who are resident in Leeds. It is a private and confidential service provided free of charge.