Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is a type of psychotherapy that places emphasis on the important role that our thoughts play in the way we feel, as well as, in what we do. Here we will look at what CBT, as it is abbreviated to be, is all about and why you might be interested in learning about this method of treatment if you suffer with anxiety, panic, depression, social anxiety or phobia to name a handlful of conditions that this therapy is known to help with.
The term Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is not a specific technique itself but rather a group of different therapies that are similar to one another. Included in this group of cognitive behavioral therapies are Cognitive Therapy, Rational Living Therapy, Rational Behavior Therapy, Dialectic Behavior Therapy and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. Obviously the word "rational" is used to describe many of these treatments as their purpose is to correct a person's behavior that is irrational.
Cognitive therapy (also known as cognitive behavioral therapy) helps the patient in identifying and modifying distorted thoughts or perceptions which might be bringing on or extending psychological agony.
Let's examine the characteristics of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy so that you can better understand how powerful it can be;
1. Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Behavior - the greatest part of CBT is that it is based on the notion that our feelings and behaviors are caused by our thoughts. In other words, proponents of this type of treatment do not accept that it is people, events or situations that have this effect on us, but rather how we think about things instead. This being said, it then makes sense that in order to change our feelings or behaviors, we need to work on changing the way we think about things.
This way, even if circumstances do not change, you can feel and or act better just by modifying the way you think about or see the situation.
2. Quick Results - Of all the psychological therapies, cognitive behavioral therapy is the one to see the fastest results. Your typical amount of therapy sessions is around 16, which can be completed in a matter of weeks, or months, whereas other therapies can often take years before any positive results are seen. CBT is interactive treatment where you are responsible for doing certain practice at home as well as the sessions with your therapist. CBT is not a never-ending process but one that comes to an end at a point decided upon by both patient and therapist.
After the formal therapy sessions have ended the patient is equipped with self-counseling techniques to help them continue on without further therapy sessions.
3. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a collaborative effort - your therapist's goal is to listen to your goals or what you hope to get out of life, teach you skills to cope with things that are causing you stress, anxiety, panic or fear, and depression, and encourage you on. Your goals, as the patient or client are to share your concerns and fears, learn and practice the skills taught to you and implement what you have learned into your life.
4. Question Yourself - your therapist will likely ask you a lot of questions, as well as, teach you some powerful questions that you should as yourself that will help you to put things in proper perspective and modify the way you think about certain things or events. Many people have social phobia for example and feel that while they're out in public people are judging them and this makes them feel self-conscious. So one possible question you may want to ask yourself is "How do I know if those people are judging me?". Tell yourself that perhaps they're more concerned about themselves and maybe wondering if people are judging them? Maybe they're just enjoying the environment they're in and going about their daily tasks. It doesn't always have to be so complicated you know?
5. CBT Empowers You - a therapist's goal in cognitive behavioral therapy is to help you, or empower you, to use your energy, knowledge, intelligence and resources to handle any situation calmly and not let any situation get the better of you.
6. Lose the Bad Behaviors - as mentioned above, it is believed that our thoughts create our behaviors, so the purpose of CBT is to help you to learn new thoughts about circumstances you may face in life that have previously caused you anxiety or stress so that you can then also change your behavior towards it and feel better about yourself and live a more normal life.
7. Teacher as Guide - the function of your therapist is not to tell you what to think or how to act, instead their goal is to teach you techniques at each session that can help you be more focused on your goals. Your therapist is there to teach you how to think and behave in order to get the things you want out of life.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a wonderfully simple technique that has potentially huge benefits. The more you put into it the more you will get out of it so don't expect your therapist to do all the work and you just reap the rewards. This could be life changing for you if you give it your all.