What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy(CBT) is a type of psychotherapy or talk therapy used to treat patients with mental health and emotional issues. This therapy involves a specific number of counselling sessions to help patients become aware of negative thinking habits and mental blocks and develop strategies to effectively overcome them and develop thoughts and habits that lead to an improved quality of life.
What are the indications for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
CBT can be used in the treatment of a wide range of conditions including:
- Anger issues
- Bipolar disorder
- Eating disorders
- Panic attacks
- Personality disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD)
- Obsessive compulsive disorder(OCD)
In addition to mental health conditions, CBT has also been found to help with:
- Chronic pain or serious illnesses
- Divorce-related issues
- Grief or sorrow pain
- Sleep disturbance
- Low self-esteem
- Relationship problems
- Stress management
- Inferior complex
- Sexual problems
What are the steps involved in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is done?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy involves following basic steps:
Identification of the problems or troubling situations in your life: This is an important step in CBT. This process can be crucial as well as challenging because of it requires introspection, which can be especially difficult for people who struggle with self-analysis. But taking time to find out these issues can lead to self-discovery and provide insights that are essential to the treatment process.
The problems or troubling situations in your life could be a medical condition, divorce, grief, anger, stress, depression, anxiety or symptoms of any Other Counseling/Therapy disorder. Your therapist may take some time to observe & study you before deciding on what problems that you should focus on and what goals to set for you.
Creating Awareness about Your Response to these Problems: Once your problems to be worked on are identified, your therapist encourages you to become aware of your thoughts, emotions and beliefs about these problems. This may include observing what you tell yourself about an experience (self-talk), your interpretation of a situation (self-analysis), and your beliefs about yourself (self-esteem) and opinions about other people and events. Your therapist may suggest that you keep a journal of your thoughts.
Identifying Negative Thinking: This is an important step in CBT which involves identifying triggers that lead to negative thinking. Your therapist may encourage you to watch your physical, emotional, and mental responses in specific situations to gain insight into your negative thinking habits.
Reshaping Your Thinking Patterns: Your therapist will encourage to you to question whether or not your response to a situation or problem is based on an inaccurate perception of the situation or yourself. You will also be taught problem solving skills such as setting SMART goals which is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based goals; and self-monitoring techniques that can help create a positive thinking patterns.
Improving the Outcome of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
To improve the outcome of your CBT sessions you should:
- Approach the therapy as a partnership between you and your therapist.
- Be as open and honest as possible.
- Adhere to the recommended treatment plan.
- Do your homework assigned by your therapist between sessions.
- Have realistic expectations to the treatment outcome.
- Speak to your therapist if you feel certain aspects of the treatment are not working.