Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies Have Been Found to Be Particularly Helpful in the Treatment of Anxiety and Depression
Cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBTs) have been particularly successful in treating mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. CBT is the most well-researched type of psychotherapy, aiming to reduce symptoms by using both cognitive and behavioral techniques.
Cognitive therapy works on the principle that our thoughts shape our feelings and behaviors. The aim is to transform these ‘automatic’ negative thoughts into more adaptive, empowering ones.
Therapy helps clients challenge their automatic negative thinking patterns with exercises and conversations. They learn ways to recognize when these ‘automatic’ beliefs arise and how to combat them before they have an adverse impact on their life.
Therapists frequently assist their clients in setting goals for themselves. These could range from changing one behavior to securing employment.
Clients often request to keep a journal of their thoughts and feelings during therapy. Doing this helps them monitor progress, so if there are any indications of improvement, clients can discuss it with their therapist.
Another essential feature of this type of therapy is its focus on problem-solving. That is, the therapist sets specific objectives for their client and then works together to reach those objectives.
Cognitive restructuring is a common technique in CBT. This involves challenging irrational beliefs by providing examples that prove their falsity. This technique has particular utility when treating obsessive-compulsive disorder and phobias, where ‘bad’ thought patterns arise from irrational beliefs about what caused these behaviors.
Exposure therapy is another form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This involves exposing someone to situations that cause anxiety or phobias, and then working together on developing coping skills for managing those situations.
Psychoanalysis has been around for many years, but its development and theories can be largely credited to psychiatrist Aaron Beck. After receiving training in psychoanalysis during the 1960s, Beck became disenchanted with it and sought out other approaches.
His experiences treating depressed patients led him to create a more direct approach to therapy. Unlike psychoanalysis, which involves talking with a patient in an objective and unfocused way, cognitive therapy requires both parties to be invested and committed to the process.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, first developed in the 1960s, continues to evolve and develop as scientific research uncovers more about our brain’s functioning. This has resulted in various forms of CBT such as Marsha Linehan’s dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) for treating those suffering from borderline personality disorder.
This type of therapy is generally considered one of the most successful and evidence-based therapies available, with often positive outcomes.
However, practicing this therapy comes with its challenges. For some individuals, the approach may be uncomfortable or overwhelming; thus, it’s essential that patients be aware of these potential limits before beginning their journey.