How Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Can Help People With Mental Illnesses
Cognitive-behavior therapy aims to alter negative thoughts and beliefs that may be contributing to anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. Additionally, it equips patients with new coping techniques for dealing with stress and other difficulties in life.
CBT can be an effective treatment for most individuals suffering from mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression and addictions. It may even be beneficial to those without symptoms but who are struggling with chronic stress, moods or habits they’d like to alter.
Enhances Problem Solving and Goal Setting: For people with mental illnesses, having a clear set of objectives is essential, and cognitive behavioral therapy can assist them in setting and achieving these objectives. Therapists may teach patients the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based) method for goal setting as well as assist them in creating an individual action plan to reach these targets.
Reduces Suicidal Thoughts and Tendencies: Many patients with depression experience profound feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness that may lead them to consider suicide. While this can be a devastating way of dealing with depression, cognitive behavioral therapy helps those feeling this way recognize there is more to life than their negative thought patterns.
Increases Rational Thinking Processes: Some patients with depression struggle to process information, leading to negative thoughts that are not grounded in reality or logic. By challenging these thoughts, a person suffering from depression can begin thinking more logically and find solutions to their problems.
Cognitive behavioral therapy Provides New Behavior Strategies: Irrational thoughts and beliefs can lead to destructive behaviors like addiction to drugs or alcohol. Cognitive behavioral therapy provides strategies for people to alter their thinking and behavioral patterns so they can avoid repeating these destructive patterns in the future.
In some instances, a patient’s therapist may suggest they practice the new strategies outside of sessions by journaling to identify unhelpful thoughts or practicing mindfulness meditation to reduce anxiety levels.
Identification of unhealthy thought patterns: People living with mental illnesses often experience an irrational or harmful set of thoughts, beliefs, or perceptions. These negative emotions can cause immense emotional distress and even prevent someone from functioning normally in their daily lives.
Therapists may ask you to record your thoughts and emotions on a simple thought monitoring worksheet, so they can discuss these patterns with you during subsequent sessions. This is an invaluable tool in the assessment phase of CBT as it allows therapists to detect automatic thoughts, triggers, and cognitive distortions.
Improves self-esteem and confidence: People suffering from depression may find it difficult to trust their own judgment or understand how their actions impact others, leading to low self-esteem and confidence levels. Cognitive behavioral therapy aims to teach individuals how to increase these positive thoughts about themselves in order to build up self-worth and boost confidence levels.
Reduces Impulsivity and Procrastination: People living with mental illnesses may become anxious or irritable, hindering them from doing things they enjoy or getting more involved in their lives. Cognitive behavioral therapy works to change these behaviors by teaching patients how to control their impulses and focus on tasks which provide positive reinforcement.