What is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)? It is a type of psychotherapy that assists you in identifying and changing the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that may be contributing to your anxiety or depression. It is also one of the most popular due to its high rate of success. It can assist you in better managing stress, worry, panic attacks, anger issues, mental illnesses, and other issues.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Brief History
Dr. Aaron T. Beck developed cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in the 1960s. He began working on this after noticing that his patients had internal monologues that made them appear to be talking to themselves. He also noticed that the more emotionally influenced a thought was, the more automatic it was. He reasoned that because these were automatic thoughts, they could be studied and changed.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy’s Evolution
After being studied for the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders in the 1960s, it quickly became an alternative to psychoanalysis. Beck believed that various types of mental illnesses are caused by distorted thinking or cognition, which then leads to negative feelings such as stress, anger, fear, and so on, eventually leading to specific behavior patterns such as avoidance (of social situations), withdrawal from society, and other regressive behaviors. This belief has been validated over time.
What CBT Is Trying to Achieve
The goal of this type of treatment is to transform negative thinking patterns that cause distress or interfere with one’s well-being into positive ones. This type of psychotherapy has been shown time and again to be an effective method for reducing stress, anxiety, and other mood problems such as depression. It has since expanded to assist those suffering from substance abuse issues, eating disorders, anger management issues, sexual assault victims, and others.
What Is the Process of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a relatively simple process that consists of four steps:
The therapist will first work with you to gain a better understanding of your thoughts and feelings, and then you will collaborate to devise a plan to change negative mental patterns.
Following that, the patient and therapist work together to modify behaviors that may be causing or exacerbating the mental illness. During this stage, the therapist may assist the patient in identifying and working through any core beliefs that may be causing negative thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. This is the stage at which the patient recognizes these beliefs and begins to disprove and act against them.
Following that, you begin to apply what you’ve learned in therapy in your daily life by experimenting with new ways of dealing with stress or anxiety. Taking matters into your own hands rather than simply talking about it in this step allows you to put everything into perspective and truly change your thought process.
Finally, the therapist and patient discuss progress and make plans for follow-up sessions to ensure they stay on track. While it is not always a lifelong process, many people choose to continue seeing therapists as long as they believe their problems are being addressed and resolved.
Techniques of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapists employ a number of techniques that you can apply in your own life. These are some examples:
- Keeping a journal of one’s thoughts
- How to Overcome Avoidance and Withdrawal
- Negative core beliefs must be changed.
- Setting objectives for yourself (and working towards them)
- Stress reduction through meditation or yoga
- Finding healthier ways to deal with difficulties
- Cognitive reorganization
Who is helped by cognitive behavioral therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is no longer what it once was. It is now used to treat a wide range of conditions and disorders, including depression and other mood disorders, GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder), panic disorder, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), phobias, social anxiety, OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), eating disorders, feeding disorders, drug and alcohol addictions, anger management issues, and behavioral issues in children with ADHD and other mental illnesses.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a popular treatment method because it can help you better manage a wide range of issues. Furthermore, because of its ease of use, patients can find affordable therapists who will meet them online from the comfort of their own homes.
What Is the Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be extremely effective. In fact, it’s such a popular treatment option that many insurance companies will cover some or all of the costs of seeing a therapist if you have an approved diagnosis of depression or another mood disorder.
What Are Some Pointers for Choosing a Good Therapist?
As previously stated in this article, there are various types of therapists and psychologists who provide CBT sessions (and more). Because they all work differently based on their education and training, you’ll want to make sure your therapist is a good fit for YOU. So, before beginning any type of therapy session with anyone at any level, remember to:
- Inquire about their educational background and training.
- Check to see if they are licensed.
- Do they collaborate with your insurance provider? (If you have one)
When selecting a therapist, it is also important to find someone with whom you feel comfortable working. You should never be made to feel uncomfortable or judged during therapy sessions, including the initial session to determine whether they are right for you.
Speak up if you don’t believe your therapist is assisting you at any point during treatment! And if things aren’t getting better after a few months of CBT, it’s time to look elsewhere and try something new rather than staying where you are. As always, we recommend searching our directory for affordable therapists in your area who can assist you in addressing whatever mental health condition is causing you distress.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what cognitive behavioral therapy is and how it can assist you in addressing your personal issues. And if you’re on the fence about starting this type of treatment with someone who has been properly educated in CBT (and possibly even specializes in helping clients like yourself), keep in mind that there’s no harm in trying out counseling or seeing a therapist for an initial session to see if they’re a good fit.
Learn more from Health.