How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Can Transform Your Life
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that has been proven effective in tackling mental illness. Whereas most forms of therapy focus on past events or childhood experiences to understand why you feel the way you do now, cognitive behavioral therapy tackles present problems and focuses on solutions.
What is Сognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of talking therapy that focuses on changing unhelpful thinking and behavior. It is based on the idea that your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are interconnected, and that if you change one, you can affect the others. CBT can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, such as anxiety disorders, depression, and chronic pain.
CBT is often described as a therapist asking you to “try out” new ways of thinking or behaving and then reflecting on how effective they are at solving problems. It’s not just theorizing about why people behave the way they do, although that is a part of it. CBT is also about trying out new ways of thinking and behaving to see if they help with a person’s problems.
Why Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work?
There are two main reasons why cognitive behavioral therapy works. Firstly, it works because it’s a collaborative effort. CBT isn’t about a therapist trying to convince you that you’re wrong and need to change. It’s about two people exploring your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to see if there is more that you could be doing.
CBT works because it’s flexible, not fixed to any one theory, method, or path. It’s an open-minded approach, seeking solutions to a range of different problems and issues, but rooted in a set of core principles. The central principles of CBT are that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected, that our thinking often gets distorted, and that we can learn new ways of thinking and behaving that will help us achieve our goals.
What to Expect from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy can be different for each person. It can be short-term (lasting up to 16 weeks) or long-term (up to a year). It can also be weekly or be done over a number of sessions throughout the week. The number of sessions you’ll need will depend on your diagnosis, how much you’re dealing with, and how severe your symptoms are. CBT is not a quick fix. It takes hard work, determination, and patience.
Most CBT sessions follow a similar pattern. The first thing your therapist will do is explore your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to your issues. The second thing your therapist will do is challenge your thoughts. Here, your therapist will take a “not just because” approach. They will ask questions like “Why do you think that?” and “What makes you think that?”
How to Find a Good CBT Therapist
If you are looking for a therapist, make sure they are certified. There are many different therapeutic approaches, but CBT is one of the most researched and effective therapies available. CBT therapists are trained in a wide range of techniques, including relaxation methods, problem solving techniques, and ways of identifying and challenging negative thoughts. If you have decided cognitive behavioral therapy is right for you, the best way to find a good CBT therapist is to ask your doctor for a recommendation.
Alternatively, you could try searching for CBT therapists in your area. When you meet with your therapist for the first time, ask them about their approach and experience with CBT. You may want to ask them questions like “What are the main goals of CBT?”, “How would you break down the process of CBT?”, and “What is the expected outcome of CBT?”
Common Techniques Used in CBT
Behavioral activation: This is a type of CBT used to treat depression and other conditions by getting you to engage in more activities that make you feel good.
- Behavioral experiments. This is a way of testing out your thoughts and beliefs to find out if they are accurate.
- Cognitive restructuring. This is a type of CBT used to treat anxiety disorders by challenging negative thoughts.
- Imagery and visualization. This is a type of CBT used to treat a number of different conditions, including anxiety and depression.
- Problem Solving. This is a type of CBT used to treat a number of different conditions, including anxiety, depression, and health worries.
- Progressive relaxation. This is a type of CBT used to help with anxiety and health worries.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of talking therapy that has been proven effective in tackling mental illness. It is also a type of therapy focused on changing unhelpful thinking and behavior. CBT is not a single technique but rather an umbrella term for many different techniques based on the principles of cognitive and behavioral theory. CBT is a collaborative effort that works because it gets you to engage in more activities that make you feel good, challenge negative thoughts, and look for solutions to your problems.