Key Concepts of Cognitive Therapy
Cognitive therapy, commonly referred to as CBT, is a type of psychotherapy that seeks to identify and alter the underlying thought patterns that cause psychological distress. It utilizes various strategies in order for patients to overcome their problems and reach their objectives.
Cognitive therapy consists of five core concepts: validity testing, therapist/client rapport, activity scheduling, recognizing and challenging negative thoughts, and goal setting. During a consultation session with the patient, their individual needs are assessed to determine if CBT is the appropriate treatment option for them.
Therapist and patient can build a rewarding relationship by collaboratively creating treatment plans and objectives. Throughout each session, the therapist should demonstrate care, warmth, and empathy while offering insight and assistance to the patient.
Cognitive Therapy often uses reframe techniques to challenge distorted or illogical beliefs. To do this, the therapist may ask the patient to explain how their belief was formed from an event or circumstance.
Utilizing evidence from the client’s experience to reinterpret their irrational beliefs helps them confront these false ideas and find a more realistic coping strategy. For instance, Gina may harbor an unjustified negative belief that she is worthless because she failed her math test. But using evidence can help challenge this negative belief and provide her with hope for improvement.
By challenging this belief, she can reduce her depression and elevate her spirits. Furthermore, it will boost her confidence and self-worth, increasing her capacity to handle difficult circumstances and people better.
Cognitive therapy offers patients the chance to hone new coping skills that they can apply in real-life scenarios. This may be done through situation exposure, systematic desensitization or other techniques.
Homework is an integral component of CBT, helping you hone your skills outside the therapist’s office. For instance, if you’re facing substance use disorder issues, your therapist might assign homework that teaches you how to manage certain situations.
Automatic thoughts can be a major issue for those living with mental illness, and cognitive therapy can help them recognize them. Once the therapist has helped the patient identify these irrational thoughts, they will work with them to accept that they lack rationality or logic and are creating unnecessary stress.
Understanding the illogical or distorted nature of these thoughts is critical in developing adaptive coping beliefs that will reduce symptoms and enhance quality of life for clients. For instance, they might notice someone looking at them and draw the conclusion that they are attracting unwanted attention; however, this conclusion cannot be supported logically and thus constitutes a cognitive distortion.
Cognitive therapy seeks to break the cycle of self-maintaining depressive disorders by examining an individual’s automatic responses to negative events and linking them to underlying negative beliefs. The therapist will then challenge this belief and, when successful, reinforce more realistic coping skills.