What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

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What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Typically, when people think of therapy, they imagine the typical scene in which the therapist is sitting on a chair while the person receiving therapy is laying down on a couch. You may think about the patient doing all the talking as the therapist nods and asks them how it makes them feel. However, this is not always the case and in today’s world, there are plenty of different therapy techniques available. One of the more popular therapeutic modalities is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Talk therapy is a very useful tool, especially for individuals that are nervous or afraid to dive in all the way. However, some therapeutic methods are more focused on combating specific behavior patterns and/or thoughts. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a therapeutic technique that can help people develop new behaviors by learning to change their thought patterns.

CBT works on the basis that the way we think and interpret life’s events affects how we behave and, ultimately, how we feel. Learning to practice CBT can help you to reduce stress, improve relationships, process grief, and face life’s obstacles. In practice, CBT tackles specific problems with a goal-oriented approach. However, it requires active involvement to be successful.

Typically, your therapist will help you apply CBT techniques to your present-day challenges, thought life, and behavioral patterns. Additionally, a CBT training program is time-limited, meaning that you know when your course will end, as well as what results to expect upon completion. On average, a course will consist of 20 one-on-one sessions. However, this can vary depending on individual circumstances.

Replacing Negative Thinking With Positive Thinking

CBT is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on how a person’s thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes affect their feelings and behaviors. The idea is that negative thoughts create negative beliefs, leading to negative feelings and behavior patterns. Therefore, by identifying negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones, you can shift the resulting feelings and behaviors.

The American Psychological Association (APA) notes that CBT is based on several beliefs, including the following:

  • Unhelpful ways that people think can lead to psychological problems
  • If people learn unhelpful behavior, this too can lead to psychological issues
  • People can learn more beneficial ways of thinking and behaving
  • New habits can relieve symptoms of mental and physical conditions and allow people to act in better ways

Therapeutic Benefits of CBT

CBT is a broad concept. Different types of CBT focus on various aspects of life. Some types address specific problems, like emotional or social challenges, for example. Research shows that CBT can offer support to people with depression, panic disorder, and various health conditions. There is also evidence that it can help relieve chronic pain.

While the success experienced as a result of CBT depends greatly on the commitment to the work, countless benefits can be experienced by those who stay the course, including:

  • Increased ability to identify problems more clearly
  • Greater awareness of automatic thoughts
  • Increased ability to challenge underlying assumptions that may be wrong
  • Learning to distinguish between facts and irrational thoughts
  • Learning to understand how experience can affect present feelings and beliefs
  • The decreased tendency towards fearing the worst
  • Improved ability to see a situation from a different perspective
  • Increased capacity to understand the actions and motives of others
  • The development of a more positive way of thinking and seeing situations
  • Increased awareness of mood
  • Learning to establish attainable goals
  • Learning to avoid generalizations and all-or-nothing thinking
  • Learning to stop taking the blame for everything
  • Learning to focus on how things are rather than how they think they should be
  • Increased ability to face fears rather than avoid them
  • Learning to describe, accept, and understand rather than judge themselves and others

CBT Learning Tools Include:

  • Regular one-on-one and/or group discussion sessions
  • Frequent feedback
  • Role-playing activities
  • Ways to calm the mind and body
  • Gradually increasing exposure to things that cause fear
  • Homework assignments
  • Keeping a cognitive-behavioral diary
  • Practicing the skills learned to promote positive behavioral change and growth

Disorders CBT Can Treat Include:

  • Depression
  • Panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD
  • Generalized anxiety disorder or GAD
  • Insomnia
  • Social phobia
  • Childhood depression
  • Anger
  • Marital conflict
  • Substance use disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Dental phobia
  • Eating disorders
    and many other mental or physical conditions

How CBT Differs From Traditional Therapy

Some therapies look into your past to help you in the present. CBT focuses on the present moment and the present conflicts you are currently experiencing. CBT helps you identify the ways in which your perception of the world around you is what is causing you pain. Consequently, the focal point of CBT is to transform the way that you think about things.

For example, depression and anxiety both distort perception, often producing a negative and fearful mindset. Unfortunately, behaviors are reflective of our thinking. When thinking is fear-based and negative, behavior and belief systems will suffer. CBT aims to completely transform thinking in the present moment as a means of cultivating new positive behaviors.

At The Kimberly Center, our professional team uses CBT as a form of therapy to treat different disorders like substance use disorder and certain co-occurring disorders. We are licensed and have the experience necessary to help you change your thinking. With our help, you will find that your negative behavior patterns can be replaced with positive solutions. Asking for help can feel scary, but we promise you it is worth it. Start your healing today and call today us at (855) 452-3683.

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