Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT: Types, Techniques, Uses

Your therapist may combine CBT with another therapeutic approach — for example, interpersonal therapy, which focuses on your relationships with other people. It might take a few sessions for your therapist to fully understand your situation and concerns, and to determine the best course of action. If you don’t feel comfortable with the first therapist you see, try someone else. Having a good “fit” with your therapist can help you get the most benefit from CBT. You and your therapist will analyse your thoughts, feelings and behaviours to work out if they’re unrealistic or unhelpful and to determine the effect they have on each other and on you. Your therapist will be able to help you work out how to change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours.

  • CBT can be a very helpful tool — either alone or in combination with other therapies — in treating mental health disorders, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or an eating disorder.
  • CBT is rooted in the present, so the therapist will initially ask clients to identify life situations, thoughts, and feelings that cause acute or chronic distress.
  • In anxiety disorders, behavioral therapy often includes learning methods to help you calm down.
  • Addressing these root emotions and modifying thought patterns can lead to positive behavioral changes, aiding in treating mental health issues like anxiety or depression.

These unhelpful core beliefs can be modified with cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. Psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapy, as well as many other approaches, center around exploring the past to gather understanding and insight. The goal is to understand what happens in your mind and body in the present to change how you respond. CBT programs tend to be structured and systematic, which makes it more likely that a person gets an adequate “dose” of healthy thinking and behaviors.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

Before therapy even begins, your therapist will probably ask you to fill out a questionnaire used to assess your mental health and keep track of progress later on. In the 1960s, psychiatrist Aaron Beck realized that the people he helped with depression often showed specific thinking patterns that didn’t serve them. If you don’t feel better after a few sessions, you might worry therapy isn’t working, but give it time. You’ll work with your therapist to find which type of therapy works best for you and your goals.

Some people view the approach as training to provide their own therapy. In general, seeing a therapist you can communicate and work well with will help you get the most out of your therapy sessions. If something doesn’t feel right about one therapist, it’s perfectly OK to see someone else. Psychodynamic therapy was developed from psychoanalysis, where you are encouraged to talk about anything on your mind to uncover patterns in thoughts or behavior.

What is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is often considered the gold standard of psychotherapy — but it’s certainly not the only approach. Read on to discover the different types of therapy and which one may work best for your needs. Homework is another important part of CBT, regardless of the techniques you use.

  • An individual’s immediate, unpremeditated interpretations of events are referred to as automatic thoughts.
  • Most early studies were conducted on people with experimentally induced anxieties or non-clinical problems such as mild fear of snakes (Kendall & Kriss, 1983).
  • The assessment for CBT in depression is, however, different from diagnostic assessment.

Versions have also been created to treat insomnia and eating disorders. But beyond treating clinical challenges, CBT can also provide the skills people need to improve their relationships, happiness, and overall fulfillment in life. CBT is appropriate for people of all ages, including children, adolescents, and adults. Evidence has mounted that CBT can address numerous conditions, such as major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and many others. CBT has been demonstrated to be effective for a range of problems including depression, anxiety disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorder.

Dementia and mild cognitive impairment

To help with this, your therapist may ask you to keep a diary or write down your thought and behaviour patterns. Exposure therapy may involve spending 6 to 15 hours with the therapist, or can be carried out using self-help books or computer programs. You’ll need to regularly practise the exercises as prescribed to overcome your problems. After the first few times, you’ll find your anxiety does not climb as high and does not last as long.

  • A recent study of anxious adolescents shows changes in brain functioning after treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • Bringing realistic goals and expectations to therapy can help you get the most out of it.
  • It’s important to note that this comparison of therapeutic approaches, subtypes, and issues that each type of therapy is useful for addressing is not exhaustive.

Ellis believes that people often forcefully hold on to this illogical way of thinking and therefore employ highly emotive techniques to help them vigorously and forcefully change this irrational thinking. REBT encourages people to identify their general and irrational beliefs (e.g., ‘I must be perfect’) and subsequently persuades them to challenge these false beliefs through reality testing. Intrusive thoughts, which can hinder daily functioning, are common, as evidenced by their mention by therapists. Many people experience them, suggesting these thoughts might arise from inherent brain patterns rather than facts.

For example, people who have developed depressive thoughts often tend to withdraw and give up their hobbies. Cognitive therapy helps to identify this mechanism and find ways to become more active again. Such thought patterns can sometimes develop into self-fulfilling prophecies and make life difficult for the people affected.

cognitive behavioral therapy

CBT can provide patients with the inner resources they need to heal—and to prevent a depressive episode from recurring in the future. A course of CBT can lead to marked benefits not only for the person in therapy but for those close to him or her. One is less anxiety in the relationship; chronic worry in generalized anxiety disorder frequently leads to tension and irritability, causing conflict between partners. Another is greater presence, because a CBT framework can help translate one’s intention to be present into a plan of action to make it happen. Positive mood, better sleep, happier children, and healthier thought patterns, are also ways in which CBT can improve a relationship.

It’s important to note that this comparison of therapeutic approaches, subtypes, and issues that each type of therapy is useful for addressing is not exhaustive. Each therapist will take their own approach when working with clients, and the type of therapy that works best for you will depend on a number of factors. Using a question-and-answer format, your therapist helps you gain a different perspective.

As a result, you learn to respond better to stress, pain and difficult situations. CBT was founded by psychiatrist Aaron Beck in the 1960s, following his disillusionment with Freudian psychoanalysis and a desire to explore more empirical forms of therapy. CBT also has roots in Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT), the brainchild of psychologist Albert Ellis. The two were pioneers in changing the therapeutic landscape to offer patients a new treatment option—one that is short-term, goal-oriented, and scientifically validated. Additionally, CBT programs can be standardized and tested so that the mental health field can identify which programs are effective, how long they take, and the benefits that patients can expect. If you’re new to cognitive behavioral therapy, you may have uncertainties or fears of what to expect.

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