How to Use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a beneficial option for those looking to enhance their mental wellbeing. This evidence-based and goal-oriented treatment has been shown to be successful with many issues such as depression and anxiety disorders.
The initial step is finding a therapist who specializes in CBT and is certified and licensed. This can make all the difference when it comes to success or failure during sessions.
At the start of each session, your therapist will collect information about you and your situation to gain a better insight into what’s causing your difficulties. This may involve reviewing family histories and medical records as well as filling out questionnaires or completing homework between appointments.
Your therapist can then assist in recognizing patterns of negative thoughts that are keeping you stuck. They’ll also teach you strategies for reframing these automatic thoughts so they no longer hold you back in life.
It is always beneficial to select a therapist you trust and feel comfortable with. You can do this by asking friends or family members who have gone through therapy for their own personal problems, or using an online service that matches you with therapists based on location, education and experience.
Once you have identified a therapist, book your initial session and arrive promptly for an in-depth discussion about what goals you wish to work on during these sessions. This will enable your therapist to decide how best to support and motivate you throughout the process.
Your therapist should meet with you every week for an hour-long session, which they may schedule around your work, school or other commitments. It’s best to start these sessions early so that you have time to address problems and develop strategies for dealing with them effectively.
At each session, your therapist will pose questions designed to test your thinking. They might probe you to explain why a particular thought occurs or provide examples that contradict what you believe. Furthermore, they’ll lead you through guided discovery – where they put themselves in your shoes and view things from your perspective – where they provide support and understanding.
They can then help you reframe your thoughts and replace them with more positive ones that are beneficial. Doing this may assist in combatting anxiety or other issues preventing you from reaching your objectives.
The therapist may also conduct experiments or role playing to test your thoughts and reactions. While these exercises can be uncomfortable, they provide opportunities to practice coping strategies and lessen anxieties.
It can be beneficial to have a supportive friend or family member present during these sessions. They can share their own insights and offer advice, while you learn how to apply your newly acquired skills in practical scenarios.
Your therapist will also give you feedback about your progress so that you can identify areas where you are making strides and need to work on developing skills further. This feedback is essential in the therapy process as it helps keep you on track and prevents you from making poor decisions in the future.