What Is Cognitive Behavorial Therapy?
Cognitive behavoral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that attempts to alter your thoughts and behaviors in order to enhance life. It has proven successful in treating issues like anxiety and depression, though it typically lasts only short-term without medication assistance.
Cognitive therapy aims to teach individuals how to recognize and alter the thoughts that cause unwanted behavior patterns, a process known as cognitive restructuring. While this may seem like an overwhelming task, your therapist will guide you through this process so that you learn how to transform your thoughts and improve your mood.
CBT is founded on the notion that our thoughts and beliefs shape and dictate our behaviors. Additionally, it’s an empirical form of therapy that adapts to new discoveries in science and psychology.
In the 1960s, psychiatrist Aaron Beck and psychologist Albert Ellis created CBT after becoming disillusioned with Freudian psychoanalysis. They based their technique on scientific research, making it short-term and goal-oriented.
Many therapists utilize CBT to treat a range of mental health disorders, such as phobias and anxiety. It has also proven successful in treating eating disorders, insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder.
At each session, your therapist will ask questions about your problems and background to create the ideal treatment plan for you. They also assist in developing coping skills and improving self-esteem.
When selecting a therapist, it’s essential that you feel at ease with them and that they have experience working with your particular issue. You can locate such an individual by calling or searching online for a local mental health practitioner.
Your initial sessions with your therapist typically involve getting to know you and understanding what’s going on in your life. This allows them to customize treatments accordingly and build a strong bond between both of you.
It is wise to ensure the therapist you select holds the appropriate certification. Licensed clinical social workers, certified employee assistance professionals and licensed mental health counselors are often qualified to provide CBT services.
CBT (Coach-Assisted Psychotherapy) therapists are well-trained in using specific techniques for altering your thinking and behavior. These may include recognizing and challenging negative automatic thoughts, practicing mindfulness, managing emotions effectively and focusing on the positive aspects of life.
The therapist can assist you in practicing these skills outside of sessions, so that they become second nature to you. You may be assigned homework between sessions to further hone your abilities and retrain your brain to think differently.
These assignments aren’t as intense or time-consuming as a regular treatment session, but they can still be beneficial to your progress. They can be completed independently or in group settings with other clients.
Therapy can also help you identify and challenge any irrational or unhelpful belief systems. They may assist in breaking negative thought patterns like catastrophizing or rumination, which cause you to feel helpless about your situation and prevent healthy decisions from being made.