What Is Cognitive Therapy?
Cognitive Therapy is a therapeutic practice wherein a therapist teaches their client how to test the accuracy of their thoughts. Through this, clients can learn to reduce negative emotional baggage and regain more control over their lives.
Cognitive therapy’s core theory states that depression is caused by an inadequate information processing in the brain. This often leads to negative thinking which has too much power and leads to feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. By challenging these negative thoughts, individuals begin thinking more rationally and begin seeing solutions to their problems.
To start, the therapist builds rapport by paying close attention to their client and using questions as well as reflective listening. This provides them with insight into how they view their problems and why.
Therapists use questions to help the client gain insight and explore his beliefs, and may encourage him to write down what they’ve experienced. Furthermore, the therapist can teach the client how to challenge negative self-talk with more constructive, empowering words.
The therapist can assist the client in setting achievable, measurable objectives and providing regular updates during sessions. This goal-oriented approach makes therapy seem less intimidating.
Therapists will assist their client in keeping a daily journal of how their day went and what caused them to experience different emotions like happiness, sadness, anger or frustration. Furthermore, therapists encourage them to practice activities which reduce anxiety levels such as approaching people for social interactions or doing something enjoyable.
Cognitive therapy also uses behavioral experiments to challenge over-generalizations and other negative coping mechanisms. For instance, if a client believes they always fail at everything, their therapist might suggest signing up for a night class to see if they can pass it.
In many cases, therapists will assign clients assignments or homework that encourages them to apply what they are learning in their everyday lives. This could include scheduling pleasurable and mastery activities regularly, journaling thoughts about a situation or practicing an effective skill that will reduce distress.
As clients gain mastery over accurate thinking, they begin to feel more secure and at ease within themselves. This positivity not only enhances their moods but also enhances relationships and quality of life.
Cognitive Therapy often draws upon Albert Ellis’ rational-emotive behavior therapy (REBT). This type of treatment emphasizes confronting and changing irrational and self-defeating behaviors by confronting and altering flawed thought patterns.
This type of therapy is frequently combined with other treatments to address a range of mental health conditions, such as substance abuse, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression. Furthermore, it has been found to be successful for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder and personality disorders.
Cognitive therapy is a short-term, goal-directed approach designed to address an individualized issue. It may be combined with other therapeutic modalities like interpersonal therapy and often forms part of a larger treatment plan that includes medication if necessary.