What exactly is cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT? Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the widely used psychotherapy methods in the United States. It started with a psychiatrist named Aaron Beck in the 1960s. He observed how his patients, who were undergoing psychoanalysis, had too many thoughts clouding their judgment. They were not sharing their thoughts with their psychiatrist and it led to more troubles. This led Beck to see the connection between thoughts and feelings and helped patients to notice the effect of their thoughts on their emotions.
The term “cognitive behavioral therapy” was used to emphasize how thoughts can help a person overcome their emotional distress. This also draws inspiration from Socrates and his philosophy which encourages people to look into their thought process to be more aware of their perceptions.
Cognitive behavioral thinking can be based on several core principles that guide therapy such as:
- Psychological problems can be traced to unhealthy or flawed ways of thinking
- Psychological problems can be traced to formed patterns of unhelpful behavior
- Suffering from psychological problems can be lessened and ultimately addressed to help people to live better lives
What Does Cognitive Based Behavioral Therapy Involve?
With a lot of available therapy for patients, CBT continues to be popular. Many mental health professionals and patients continue to choose to take part in practice. Many of the benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy include:
- People are becoming more aware of the effects that their negative and unhealthy thoughts have on their actions and feelings. This encourages them to have better thinking patterns.
- This can be an effective treatment even as a short term option.
- CBT can help people going through emotional distress that does not need psychotropic medication
- There has been a lot of evidence that it can help patients with different psychological problems
- It is more affordable than other options for therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Strategies
Many of the challenges that affect people’s lives come from unhealthy beliefs and thoughts. These thoughts can cause behaviors and decisions that affect a person’s family, work, romantic relationships, and recreation. There are multiple strategies that can be used in CBT but the psychologist and patient should work together to identify the best treatment strategy for the situation. Strategies used in CBT aims to change thinking patterns through:
- Identifying how to recognize distortions we make in our thoughts that leads to problems
- Evaluating our thought processing to see how it affects different aspects of our lives
- Learning how to better understand the behavior and motivation of others
- Utilizing different problem-solving skills to help overcome difficult situations
- Developing a better sense of confidence in one’s self and abilities
Other strategies in CBT can help change behavior patterns. These can include:
- Tackling fears and weaknesses instead of avoiding or denying them
- Practicing different scenarios through role-playing to help prepare for stressful situations
- Learning how to be in control of their own thoughts and how to relax their own body
What Are The Goals of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
CBT is a short term method of psychotherapy. It will be held over a couple of sessions that can span several months. Several strategies and tools will be selected and used during the CBT sessions. As one of the benefits of CBT, the therapy is personalized according to the patients’ needs. So, each therapy session is unique and the goals set are dependent on the patient’s situation.
On a general level, CBT aims to help clients as they form new perspectives and thought processing. This will enable them to be more in control of their behavior and help them think of their actions as separate from the actions of others. Setting personal goals can also help CBT sessions to be productive and meaningful. Goals can be anything from being able to socialize better, forming better relationships, public speaking, or overcoming depression or trauma.
To enjoy the maximum reward of CBT, there will be a need for action. Psychologists and therapists would involve homework as follow up to the previous sessions held. It will be the patient’s commitment to complete the homework and put in the effort. There will be better development and progress in CBT strategies as the patient and therapist work together.