What Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?
Odds are you’ve heard of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as it is one of the most common types of therapy available today. Still, that label doesn’t exactly clarify what it is, how it works, or what it does.
CBT is a psychotherapy treatment that focuses on patterns of thinking and the beliefs, attitudes, and values that impact thinking. Psychotherapy is, essentially, talk therapy. This is when a person speaks with a trained therapist in a safe space to improve their lives through understanding themselves, their behaviors, and developing coping skills for stress. There are several types of psychotherapy, but CBT focuses on a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Explaining Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
CBT sessions include working with a therapist to address unhealthy behaviors, thoughts, and what may be causing them. Through this process, the client also learns to develop healthier habits to improve their quality of life. By identifying negative thoughts and reconstructing them, the client learns to solve their problems. CBT offers the tools and lessons needed for a client to move forward with their lives with a more positive and realistic outlook.
CBT focuses on solutions to problems and changing one’s way of thinking to adjust their behaviors and reactions. Behaviors are linked to thoughts and feelings, so being able to readjust the way someone thinks or feels can improve their behavior. For instance, someone overwhelmed with how they think others perceive them will apply those assumptions to their actions. CBT would help them identify that harmful thought process and rework their beliefs to follow reality and facts. They would determine what led to this way of thinking, practice positive self-talk, and relate their behaviors to their new lessons.
One of the primary purposes of CBT is to recognize the problem to solve it. CBT helps you become more self-aware. Through talking with a therapist, you work together to determine distressing thoughts and expectations and learn how to change those thoughts to live a healthier lifestyle. A therapist will ask pointed questions to help you see things you may not have noticed before so that you can actively work on them.
An example might be someone with low self-esteem. Believing they do not have what it takes to be successful can lead to behaviors that correspond with those thoughts. CBT would help such a person identify those thoughts and develop new thought patterns featuring positive and realistic expectations for themselves. By becoming more self-aware or cognizant of their thoughts, they can begin to take back control.
Some of the more common tools and coping mechanisms learned through CBT are:
Being aware of negative thoughts
Rephrasing false assumptions
Identifying reality and irrational thoughts
Looking at situations from other perspectives
Understanding people’s motives and behaviors
Develop a positive outlook
Set realistic goals
Focusing on the present rather than fear or expectations of the future
Accept and work through emotions
All of these methods can be taught in reference to a client’s specific circumstances and learning style. Therapists are trained to work with you so that you gain the most out of each session.
Who is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy For?
CBT was first created to treat depression, but since it took off, its gained popularity and its uses have grown far and wide. Now, CBT is an effective form of therapy to treat most mental illnesses. Unlike many assumptions, CBT is not just venting or complaining to someone. Those who undergo CBT improve their brain functioning and overall wellbeing. CBT can help treat:
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder
Addiction and substance abuse
These are only some of the most common causes for seeking CBT. Even without a specific diagnosis, CBT can help anyone develop better social and relationship skills. Anyone searching for clarity, confidence, or an improvement in their life can benefit from CBT.
How Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Helps
CBT is based on the idea that as humans, we learn our behavior. It is not intrinsic. That means we can unlearn and relearn. By identifying poor, learned behaviors, we can develop new and healthier ways to cope. By establishing a trusting relationship with a licensed therapist, one can begin to work through their problems, find solutions, and apply those solutions.
When beginning CBT, you explain your situation and what you hope to gain from the sessions. Then you and your therapist would work together to form a plan to accomplish the goals you’ve set. As time goes on, goals will change, and you will adjust together.
At first, you may be seeking help with social anxiety. Your therapist would likely work with you to practice relaxation techniques. As that improves, you may begin to realize a struggle with trust or relationships. Then, your focus or goals would change based on progress and life stages.
Although cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a generalized term, it describes a unique type of therapy that has shown to be effective for several mental illnesses and everyday challenges. CBT is well-known and used because it is so helpful and relative to a vast majority of people. By creating a safe environment with a trusted professional, you can work through your struggles, understand them, and find solutions you can use for the rest of your life. The tools gained through CBT are adjustable and applicable to so many situations. Seeking CBT as a form of self-improvement, recovery, or mental health stability can be the best decision you ever make. Here, at California Care Detox & Treatment, we offer extensive CBT as the main focus of our program and help guide you to becoming your best self. Call us at (949) 281-0632 today and start your journey to the best version of yourself.