Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Tools
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an approach that assists those suffering from mental health issues like anxiety and depression. The purpose of CBT is to teach patients how to recognize and alter their thoughts and behaviors, ultimately leading to improved physical wellbeing and quality of life for all individuals.
CBT tools involve activities, exercises and discussions that explore how thoughts influence behavior. The therapist may also assist the patient in setting goals and refining new thinking and behavioral skills for everyday living.
Recognizing and reframing negative thinking is an essential first step in CBT, as it can be challenging to recognize your own patterns of thought. This step often takes place through a series of interactive question-and-answer sessions with a professional.
Your therapist may ask you to keep a journal of your responses to difficult situations and the beliefs about them. Your therapist can use this data to identify any negative or inaccurate thinking patterns that could be contributing to the difficulties.
Explore Negative Automatic Thoughts with Cognitive restructuring Worksheet: Your therapist will give you a CBT worksheet that prompts you to identify negative thoughts like “I always fail at everything” or “Everyone will laugh at me.” Additionally, write down all of the ways in which you can change these feelings and thoughts with statements such as “I am capable of getting through this” or “I have extensive experience dealing with this.” These activities can help retrain yourself to think in more positive and realistic ways.
Challenge your automatic thoughts with a behavioral experiment: This type of intervention involves you doing something that goes against your beliefs, such as signing up for a night class or taking on an extra job. Although it may seem counterintuitive, this strategy has proven highly successful at altering negative thoughts and providing you with more constructive solutions.
Problem-solving and Goal Setting: With your therapist, you will collaborate on setting short and long term objectives that are tailored to you and your situation. These should be SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based. They could also be related to other areas of life like improving relationships or advancing in career.
Schedule Pleasurable and Mastery Activities Regularly: Your therapist may encourage you to set aside time for pleasurable and mastery activities, such as a hobby or rewarding activity. Studies have suggested that spending time doing things you enjoy can help alleviate symptoms of depression.
Create a Visual Representation of Your Anxiety: Your therapist can show you an acronym that depicts the stages of fear and anxiety, beginning with a distressing situation or trigger, followed by thoughts associated with that event. This visual aid will help you see events more clearly and can help break the cycle of fear and anxiety.
Dissolve fear and guilt with compassion and understanding: Your therapist will teach you techniques to deal with feelings of guilt that are causing emotional problems such as self-blame, avoidance or anger. This could be done through group counseling or individual counseling depending on individual needs and preferences.