Neuroplasticity and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psychological treatment that uses techniques to alter your thinking and feelings. It has the potential for relieving psychiatric symptoms, elevating moods, and finding new ways to cope with stress or anxiety. CBT relies on neuroplasticity – your brain’s capacity for change and strengthening connections over time – which makes it effective in combatting symptoms caused by mental illness.
The brain’s plasticity allows it to learn new things, make changes in response to experience and adapt to environmental conditions. This is an integral component of mental health.
Exercise also aids the body in recovering from physical injuries and traumas. After a stroke or other brain damage, neurons in the brain often need to rewire – this process of plasticity is known as neuroplasticity and it helps patients regain mobility, strength and communication abilities.
Neuroplasticity affects some of the most significant areas in the brain, such as the hippocampus and subventricular zone of the lateral ventricle. These regions store memories, emotions and sense of smell.
Conversely, other areas of the brain tend to be less adaptable and resistant to changes. This explains why disorders such as depression and anxiety disrupt how quickly one’s mind adapts to new information.
That is why therapists’ role in therapy is to help the patient recognize and replace negative thoughts and behaviors with healthier ones. Furthermore, the therapist will motivate the patient to practice techniques learned during sessions and apply them frequently outside of sessions.
Neuroplasticity can be stimulated through various therapies, all aiming to retrain the mind to improve functions and reduce psychiatric symptoms. Examples include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapies, interpersonal neurobiology and other approaches.
Cognitive behavioral therapy programs often incorporate behavioral techniques as part of their approach. These can be classified into categories like thought monitoring, recognizing and programming automatic thoughts, assessing cognitive distortions, and engaging in positive self-talk.
Thought monitoring involves keeping a written record of your thoughts and feelings. Doing this can help you recognize patterns, become conscious of how certain ideas or beliefs influence your behaviour, detect cognitive distortions and infer about the rules guiding those thoughts.
A cognitive behavioral therapist will collaborate with you to explore all possible scenarios for what is occurring. For instance, if you’re having an argument with your partner, trying to reframe the conflict by considering all possibilities and rationalizing your actions may help ease tension.
This method of therapy has been shown to be successful in relieving mental complaints, improving moods and self-esteem. It may especially benefit those suffering from PTSD, panic disorder or other forms of anxiety.
Research has demonstrated that people’s symptoms can return once they stop attending therapy, however most people report significant improvements when continuing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This is because CBT works to alter your brain’s automatic negative thought patterns.