Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Updated: Dec 9, 2022
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapeutic treatment that helps people learn how to identify, challenge and change the negative thoughts that influence their behavior.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is based on changing the automatic negative thoughts that can contribute to or worsen depression, anxiety and emotional difficulties. These spontaneous negative thoughts also have a detrimental effect on our mood.
CBT helps people recognize, challenge, and replace faulty thoughts with more objective, realistic thoughts.
Types of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a range of techniques and approaches that address our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. These can range from structured psychotherapies to self-help practices. Some of the specific types of therapeutic approaches that involve cognitive behavioral therapy include:
Cognitive therapy focuses on identifying and correcting inaccurate thoughts, emotional responses, and behaviors.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a treatment strategy that addresses destructive or disturbing thoughts and behaviors, incorporating treatment strategies such as emotional regulation and mindfulness.
Multimodal therapy addresses psychological issues by addressing seven different but interconnected modalities: behavior, affect, sensation, imagery, cognition, interpersonal factors, and drug/biological considerations.
Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is a psychotherapy treatment approach that involves identifying irrational beliefs, actively challenging these beliefs and learning to recognize and change these thought patterns.
All forms of cognitive behavioral therapy aim to address the underlying thought patterns that contribute to psychological distress.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques
Cognitive behavioral therapy is an approach to helping people overcome a range of problems, such as anxiety or depression. It uses both one-on-one sessions with a therapist and self-help techniques to help people become more aware of the patterns in their thinking that lead to negative feelings and behaviors, then change those patterns.
Identifying Negative Thoughts
It is important for individuals experiencing maladaptive behaviors to identify what thoughts, feelings, and situations contribute to those behaviors. In addition to being difficult for some people, introspection can be uncomfortable and even painful. But taking the time for self-examination can lead to self-discovery and provide insights that are essential to the treatment process.
Practicing New Skills
Cognitive behavioral therapy often involves the development of skills that can be applied in real-world situations. For example, someone with a substance use disorder might practice new coping skills and rehearse ways to avoid or deal with social situations that could potentially trigger a relapse.
Goal setting can be an important step in recovery from mental illness, helping you to improve your health and life. During cognitive behavioral therapy, a therapist can help you build and strengthen your goal-setting skills. This might involve teaching you how to identify your goal or distinguishing between short- and long-term goals. It may also include helping you set SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based).
Problem-solving skills are developed during cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help you learn to identify and solve problems that may arise from life stressors, both big and small. It can also reduce the negative impact of psychological and physical illness.
Problem-solving in CBT often involves five steps:
Identify the problem
Generate a list of potential solutions
Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each potential solution
Choose a solution to implement
Implement the solution
Self-monitoring is an important cognitive behavioral therapy technique. It involves tracking behaviors, symptoms, or experiences over time and sharing them with your therapist. By doing so, you can provide your therapist with essential information about what is going on in your life, which can help the therapist provide you with the best treatment. For example, for people with eating disorders, self-monitoring may involve keeping track of eating habits and any thoughts or feelings that went along with consuming a meal or snack.
What Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Help With
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a short-term treatment that helps individuals change their perceptions and behaviors to better deal with the present.
CBT is used to treat a wide range of conditions, including:
In addition to mental health conditions, cognitive behavioral therapy has also been found to help people cope with:
Chronic pain or serious illnesses
Divorce or break-ups
Grief or loss
Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) emerged during the 1960s and originated in the work of psychiatrist Aaron Beck. He noted that certain types of thinking contributed to emotional problems and labeled these "automatic negative thoughts." He developed the process of cognitive therapy, which addresses how thoughts and feelings affect behaviors.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most well-studied forms of treatment for mental disorders. It has been shown to be effective in the treatment of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, insomnia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder and substance use disorder.