Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (C.B.T.)
The current traditional, established talk therapy method.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (C.B.T.) is an empirically supported treatment that focuses on patterns of thinking that are maladaptive and the beliefs that underlie such thinking. For example, a person who is depressed may have the belief, "I’m worthless,"and a person with a phobia may have the belief, "I'm in danger." While the person in distress
likely holds such beliefs with great conviction, with a therapist’s help, the individual is encouraged to view such beliefs as hypotheses rather than facts and to test out such beliefs by running experiments. Furthermore, those in distress are encouraged to monitor and log thoughts that pop into their minds (called "automatic thoughts") in order to enable them to determine what patterns of biases in thinking may exist and to develop more adaptive alternatives to their thoughts. People who seek CBT can expect their therapist to be active, problem-focused, and goal-directed.
Studies of CBT have demonstrated its usefulness for a wide variety of problems, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse disorders, and psychotic disorders. While a full description of the treatment and presenting problems for which it is useful is beyond the scope of this brief overview, a brief summary of several treatments will be presented.
CBT has been shown to be as useful as antidepressant medication for individuals with depression and is superior in preventing relapse. Patients receiving CBT for depression are encouraged to schedule activities in order to increase the amount of pleasure they experience. In addition, depressed patients learn how to restructure negative thought patterns in order to interpret their environment in a less biased way. CBT for Bipolar Disorder is used as an adjunct to medication treatment and focuses on psychoeducation about the disorder and understanding cues and triggers for relapse. Studies indicate that patients who receive CBT in addition to treatment with medication have better outcomes than patients who do not receive CBT as an adjunctive treatment.
CBT is also a useful treatment for anxiety disorders. Patients who experience persistent panic attacks are encouraged to test out beliefs they have related to such attacks, such as specific fears related to bodily sensations, and to develop realistic responses to such beliefs. This treatment is very effective for those who experience such problems. Patients who experience obsessions and compulsions are guided to expose themselves to what they fear and beliefs surrounding their fears are identified and modified. The same is true for people with phobias, including phobias of animals or phobias of evaluation by others (termed Social Phobia). Those in treatment are exposed to what they fear and beliefs that have served to maintain such fears are targeted for modification.
(The above description of C.B.T. was taken directly from
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) does not necessarily aim to solve every problem in your life. Instead, CBT aims to teach you the skills so you can better solve your own problems now, and in to the future. CBT focuses mostly on the "here and now", and particularly on the way you think about things (including your attitudes and beliefs).
Cognitive behaviour therapy works by helping you identify where your thoughts (and actions) are unhelpful and self-defeating. Once aware of these issues, a cognitive behaviour therapist will help you to replace these negative thoughts and "bad habits" with more helpful thoughts and more constructive behaviours. There are various strategies for achieving this, including asking for feedback from other people and weighing up the pros and cons of different options.
CBT is a collaborative process based on understanding, empathy, support and most importantly, a strong belief that you can change – for the better.
By focusing on thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours CBT has been proven to be the most effective intervention for problems such as depression, anxiety, panic, stress, insomnia, relationship difficulties and even coping with chronic illness (such as pain). Much can be achieved with CBT including feeling really great about life, instead of just okay.
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