Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a widely used therapy that helps individuals manage various conditions and concerns. It is commonly employed by treatment centers and therapists across the nation and is gaining popularity as a successful method for treating addiction and mental health issues. CBT therapy is a type of psychological treatment that can be used to recognize and alter negative thought patterns that affect one’s behavior and emotions.
What is cognitive behavioral therapy?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy that helps individuals recognize and change negative or inaccurate thoughts. It is a structured therapy that is completed in a limited number of sessions. It provides clients with a clearer perspective on their surroundings. This allows them to respond to difficult situations in a more positive and effective way. CBT can be used in combination with other therapies or as a standalone treatment. It is worth noting that not everyone who undergoes CBT has a mental health condition, it also helps in managing stress in daily life.
How does CBT work?
CBT aims to assist individuals in understanding the connection between their thoughts and actions. The therapist will first evaluate current thought patterns, which may include cognitive distortions. One common cognitive distortion is mental filtering, where an individual only focuses on negative aspects of a situation and is unable to see any positives.
CBT’s effectiveness relies on understanding current thought patterns. Then it challenges them, replaces them with more positive thoughts, and changes behavior in response to triggers. This approach helps individuals gain insight into their disorder and take proactive steps towards change.
CBT treats a wide range of conditions, which include addiction, depression, anxiety, OCD, eating disorders, and schizophrenia.
What are the benefits of CBT?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is goal-oriented and action-based. It is considered a demanding form of therapy as it requires a significant amount of self-reflection and effort. However, it has proven to be effective and beneficial.
It creates positive thoughts.
Mental health conditions can lead to pessimism and desperation. CBT therapy offers hope by teaching individuals that their thoughts are not always accurate. They do not always reflect reality. By learning to challenge their thoughts, they open their minds to new possibilities and the potential for a different life.
It develops self-esteem.
Many mental health conditions are linked with low self-esteem, which perpetuates a cycle of negative thoughts and behaviors. CBT can interrupt this pattern and help build self-confidence. Gaining insight into how thoughts operate and realizing they can be controlled, leads to a shift in one’s belief system and self-perception.
It improves coping skills.
Many mental health disorders stem from an inability to handle stressful situations such as grief or trauma. CBT gives patients the tools to cope with these situations by teaching them how to express themselves effectively, rather than keeping their feelings bottled up.
It builds on better communication skills.
Sustaining relationships can be challenging when dealing with depression, addiction, and social anxiety. CBT teaches patients how to effectively communicate their feelings to others without becoming angry or feeling ashamed. It also helps them maintain healthy relationships.
It manages anger.
Managing anger is a major challenge for those with mental illness. They may feel guilty and ashamed, leading to anger directed towards the world. CBT addresses the underlying issues that make emotions overwhelming. It teaches patients various techniques to control their emotional responses and to identify the reasons behind their anger.
It prevents relapse.
Patients with mental disorders are often at risk of relapsing. CBT equips patients with the skills necessary to avoid relapse. It helps identify their problems and provides coping methods. By learning how to recognize negative thought patterns, patients are better able to prevent relapses.
What should you expect from CBT?
If you are new to CBT therapy, it is natural to have some reservations or concerns about the process. The first session generally starts like any other appointment with a healthcare provider. During the first session, you will likely complete paperwork, such as HIPAA forms, insurance information, medical history, and current medications. You may also have to sign a therapist-patient service agreement. If you are participating in online therapy, these forms will likely be completed online.
After the therapist has a better understanding of your background, struggles, and goals for CBT, they can guide you in becoming more aware of unhelpful or unrealistic thoughts and beliefs. Then, they will use strategies to help you adopt healthier thoughts and behaviors.
During subsequent sessions, you will evaluate the effectiveness of the strategies and adjust those that are not working. Your therapist may also provide you with CBT techniques that you can practice on your own between sessions, such as keeping a journal to identify negative thoughts or practicing new skills to manage anxiety.
For CBT to be successful, one must be willing to invest time and energy into examining their thoughts and emotions. This self-examination can be challenging, but it is a valuable way to understand how our internal states influence our actions.
Mindshift Psychological Services provides cognitive behavioral therapy. If you are considering this form of therapy, visit our website or contact us at (714) 584-9700.