Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – or CBT – has for some time been the therapy of choice in the US and the UK. The UK’s National Health Service considers it one of the most cost-effective ways of treating mental health issues in the UK.

CBT works on the principle of identifying negative and self-defeating thought patterns and replacing them with positive thought patterns. It deals with current problems rather than focusing on issues form the past. Since its introduction in the 1970s, CBT has revolutionised therapy.

Thrive also uses CBT. In fact Thrive has adopted the best of CBT and shares with it the (very ancient) insight that the most important thing in mental health is not what happens to us in our life but how we respond to what happens to us.

So what does Thrive add?

The Thrive added value:


CBT is all about the technique. Thoughts are jointly interrogated by the client and therapist until the client is supposedly trained up enough to analyse and manage their thoughts themselves. But actually, after CBT, that rarely happens, because the client is never given any context as to why they are doing what they are doing. They ask “why am I thinking like this in the first place?” In Thrive, the student is given labels for different parts of their thinking processes, which helps them accurately identify how they are thinking. It is a light bulb moment that allows the client to absorb the CBT techniques.


In the very first Thrive session, the client benchmarks their own thinking styles. They not only learn how they are thinking, they know the extent of their negativity. They have a score, a number. As they develop they can go back and measure progress against the benchmark. This is tangible and important for progress, especially in a field where progress is notoriously hard to measure.


CBT is traditionally criticised for not recognising emotions. Thrive is highly cognitive, but we explain to clients how thoughts become emotions and therefore how emotions have to be recognised as indicators of the thought processes beneath.


Thrive takes on far more of the recent insights of positive psychology. The whole aim of Thrive is not to recover from a symptom, but to foster a resilient mind-set that can face any challenge. There is a more judicial balance between identifying the negative and working towards the positive. This is Thrive putting CBT techniques (and more) to a far more useful long term goal.


All Thrive Instructors go through the same training with the top practitioners. The Thrive programme is structured around a 6 session plan that all Thrive consultants use. There’s a reason for this consistency. Depression, social anxiety, emetophobia, even the bereavement process all share a common denominator: negative and self-destructive thinking styles. If there is one underlying problem, it makes sense to have one proven plan for solving it.


Thrive consultants have to achieve high self-esteem scores during their training before the instructor is satisfied that they can teach Thrive. Why? Because helping clients to learn how to permanently raise self-esteem is at the heart of Thrive. How could we teach you about self-esteem if we don’t have a high self-appreciation of ourselves?

Even CBT trainee therapists with low self-esteem can become qualified therapists. Result: low self-esteem CBT instructors trying to help low self-esteem clients…….The evidence from studies is that such therapists do not deliver the challenge their clients may need – because they are too scared too.


Thrive consultants really encourage their clients to do persistent and consistent work on themselves in the hours they are not in a Thrive session. We expect you to do your homework and we encourage you to report back with detail on successes and challenges since we last spoke.

Good quality CBT therapists also demand this level of commitment, but it is not a consistent feature of that therapy sector.

In summary, Thrive takes the best of CBT’s highly structured approach and adds to it, making mental health training more rigorous, and fit for purpose, in the 21 Century.