Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – A Breakdown
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common type of therapy often used to treat anxiety disorders as well as depression. According to scientific research studies, CBT is as effective in the treatment of depression as antidepressants.
The most optimal treatment plan is medication in conjunction with therapy, including online therapy. However, this is context-dependent. If a person is living with anxiety and feels that they don't need medication, CBT is a great place for that individual to start. The focus of CBT is on helping you understand your thoughts and thought patterns. Our thoughts can actually impact our moods. With the coping techniques of behavior therapy, you have the power to change your feelings as well as your behaviors.
What Is CBT? What Kind Of Therapy Is It?
CBT, like cognitive processing therapy, teaches people or a person about cognitive distortions. Often, a clinical practice client is unaware of these unhealthy patterns of thinking until they learn about how they impact their lives in a negative way, and at that point, they can change the way they think about things through online therapy CBT.
Cognitive behavior therapy, a form of talk therapy, aims to improve behavior patterns and mental health. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be used to treat anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, mood disorders, eating disorders, and psychological distress. The benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy cbt include new coping skills, relaxation techniques, stress management, emotional regulation, and improvement of symptoms from mental health disorders. Cognitive behavioural therapy cbt has been supported by clinical psychology, peer reviewed studies, and clinical trials. Psychological treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy method can be helpful in treating a panic disorder, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, or other mental illness.
Read further to see if you personally experience some of the following cognitive distortions and could benefit from cognitive therapy:
This means that you take the negative details and magnify them. Then you ignore the positive attributes of a situation. For example, a person could focus on one negative thing and ruminate on it. Then their perspective of the situation is distorted in a negative light.
"Black and White" Thinking’
In this distortion, you see things as "black-or-white." There are no shades of gray or middle ground. Either you are perfect or you are a complete failure. There is no in-between, and we know that this is inaccurate in life.
This means that you are concluding something based on one thing that happened. Just because something occurs one time, it doesn't mean it will happen every subsequent time. This is an overgeneralization, and it can be destructive to your thinking and mental health.
Jumping to Conclusions/Mind Reading
You cannot know what another person is thinking. In this distortion, you are jumping to a conclusion, because of your emotional reaction to another person. It's better to ask that person how they feel rather than assume it.
This means that you imagine a terrible scenario where a horrible thing happens based upon a tiny detail. For example, if your friend doesn't call you back, you might assume that she hates you and no longer wants to be your friend or that she died.
Personalization means that you believe that it is about you. An event occurs and you are convinced that it was because of you. Someone's negative response is because you did something wrong. In reality, there are a number of factors at play here and it's not necessarily all about you.
You see yourself as helpless and a victim of fate. There is nothing you can do to change your life because it is predetermined and hence you are doomed. This is inaccurate, and you do have the power to make decisions and advocate for yourself.
Fallacy of Fairness
Life isn't fair; we've heard this time and time again. However, lamenting about how you are being treated unfairly and there is a vast conspiracy against you is also an exaggeration. Balance in life can happen, and it’s important to recognize that.
It's important to take responsibility and be accountable for your actions. If you feel a certain way, it isn't because of someone else. They could have said something that hurt your feelings, but they didn't "make you feel that way." It's not productive to tell someone "You made me feel bad." What's more productive is to say, "I feel hurt when you say ___." Use your I-statements and you will avoid this distortion.
- Should Statements
Have you ever heard the saying "stop should-ing all over yourself"? When we say "I should do ___," it induces guilt and shame in us. There is no need to say, "I should be" or "I ought to" because there is no rule book for life. You are free to make your own decisions about what’s best for you.
- Emotional Reasoning
You feel a certain way; therefore, it must be the truth. Feelings are not the ultimate indicator of what is logically true. You could feel that someone is angry with you, but until you check in with them and ask, you won't know the truth.
- Fallacy of Change
We believe that we have the power to change other people if we cajole them enough. This isn't true. A person will change, if they want to, on their own time.
"I'm a failure," "I'm a bad friend," "I am stupid." These are all examples of labeling. It's unhelpful to call yourself names. You are a human being with a multitude of qualities, but you are not one thing. We all have flaws, but we are not exclusively identified by them.
- Always Being Right
Nobody is right all the time. In fact, there is no right and wrong in a given argument. There are subjectivity and different people's perspectives. You have your opinion and I have mine. We could be looking at the same shade of green and you think it's blue, while I insist that it's green. No one is right in this situation. It's a matter of opinion.
- Heaven's Reward Fallacy
We believe that if we do the right thing in situations throughout life, we will be rewarded somehow in life. This isn't always the truth. Bad things happen to good people and vice versa. There is no one keeping score, and we do the best that we can in our lives.
Learning coping techniques associated with CBT during sessions with your therapist in treatment, including cognitive distortions and thought records are extraordinarily helpful for people with anxiety and depression, or eating disorders. CBT provides that level of insight into our thinking and has the capacity to better our lives.
CBT therapists use cognitive behavior therapy and sometimes other therapies to provide psychological treatment in therapy sessions. The clinical practice of many therapists is used to treat post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and an array of any other mental illness, including emotional symptoms from chronic pain. Cognitive behavioral therapy sessions use clinical psychology approved techniques to teach coping mechanisms to people learning to manage a mental illness. With cognitive behavioral therapy, a psychologist may prescribe medications to enhance treatment.
How BetterHelp Can Support You
If you are still struggling with thought and behavioral issues in your own life you want to change, you might want to find a therapist who specializes in CBT to work on your thoughts, potential issues, relationship with mind, develop coping skills, and improve your overall health. To make the therapy process easier for you, meeting with an online therapist is an option for CBT. This way, you can meet where it’s most comfortable for you and at a time that works best for you.
Being an active participant in your own psychological treatment will ensure that you get the most out of cognitive behavioral therapy. The success of your treatment will depend on how many sessions you attend, and how much you apply yourself.
There are many CBT therapists at BetterHelp who can teach you valuable skills in recognizing your own cognitive distortions and how to change them. Below you’ll find some reviews from others who have recently focused on CBT with BetterHelp counselors.
“Kelsey is warm, responsive, and flexible in working with her clients' needs. I'm primarily doing cognitive behavioral therapy with her to change some distressing behaviors, and her support and concrete actions have guided me well.”
“Jackie consistently guides and supports my progress, while creatively challenging my cognitive distortions. I feel super fortunate to have Jackie as an intelligent and compassionate counselor who lifts my eyes up and into focus.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What does CBTdo?
Cognitive therapy works to relieve mental health conditions by reframing negative thoughts and negative feelings. These negative thoughts could take the form of overthinking situations and spiraling, jumping to conclusions, creating unhelpful narratives, and allowing your internal voice to berate you. Thus, CBT focuses on creating new, healthier thinking patterns that help the patient develop a more positive mindset to address emotional challenges.
Can I do CBT on my own?
If you don't have health insurance that covers CBT therapy, you may be wondering if you can "DIY" this particular type of therapy. Luckily, because CBT works by reframing negative thought patterns into positive ones to reshape behavioral patterns, you can perform CBT exercises at home and on your own. Other therapeutic approaches, like exposure therapy, are harder to work through on your own without a professional's assistance.
What questions does CBT ask?
Behavioral therapy work can look like asking questions to yourself to rethink through negative thought patterns. As such, your therapist may ask you to dissect your thoughts and dig deeper into the why behind them. They may ask "What is the problem from your perspective?", "How does this problem typically make you feel?", or "What helps make the problem better?"
What is CBT and how does it work?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a mental health treatment option that is based on the concept that all your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and actions are connected. This form of psychological treatment aims to help a person deal with overwhelming problems in a more positive way by breaking down the ways of thinking into multiple different parts. CBT is a form of psychological treatment that has proven to be effective with obsessive compulsive disorder ocd, post traumatic stress disorder, depression anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and many other mental illness subsets. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of talk therapy where a therapist will help you work through your thoughts and feelings and strive to make your thought patterns more manageable.
What is an example of cognitive behavioral therapy?
An example of cognitive behavioral therapy could be something as simple as restructuring the thought “I’ll never have a lasting relationship” to “None of my previous relationships have lasted very long”. This type of thinking restructures an idea in a more positive light and can be applied to a borderline personality disorder, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder ocd, or a depressive disorder. These coping skills can also be applied to physical problems, such as chronic pain, to help provide the client with coping mechanisms.
How effective is cognitive behavioral therapy?
The efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy on improving mental health issues is constantly being studied but has already been determined to be a reliable counseling option. Some studies have shown that cognitive behavioral therapy can be as effective as 75% for treating those with mood disorders such as depression or an anxiety disorder. Clinical trials into the practice, as with other therapies, are constantly being performed to ensure they are still up to date, but cognitive behavioral therapy has proven effective in clinical psychology.
What are the disadvantages of CBT?
Cognitive behavioral therapy for mental health is a talk therapy and, as such, typically doesn’t have medicinal treatment involved. For some, this makes cognitive behavioral therapy a less effective counseling strategy. Those living with post traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders such as binge eating or bulimia nervosa, or a different mental illness may require medicinal treatment. Additionally, a client has to commit themselves to the process of cognitive behavioral therapy for mental health and take all lessons to heart. This can involve confronting emotions and anxiety directly, which can bring up unpleasant thoughts or mental illness symptoms. In clinical practice, cognitive behavioral therapy has proven successful at treating mental health in patients, but it requires more overall effort and sessions than some other strategies.
How long does it take for cognitive behavioral therapy to work for anxiety?
On average, cognitive behavioral therapy treatment for a mental health concern typically takes around 12 to 20 weeks and requires weekly 30-60 minute live sessions. This is a gradual progression where the benefits may start to be seen during the course of treatment, but the full effects of this mental health training will likely take around three to four months. As an active participant in the process and focusing on trying to set goal for yourself, you will likely see better results faster than if you were acting as a passive participant in the process. Cognitive behavior therapy is a talk therapy and seeing the benefits means actively participating. Find support groups and speak with family members about your journey with cognitive behavioral therapy to get more involved in the process and potentially see quicker benefits.
Is CBT good for anxiety?
Yes, cognitive behavioral therapy has proven to be beneficial for anxiety and mental health, as well as be helpful in regard to relaxation and helping someone living with severe anxiety. Clinical trials are still being performed to test just how beneficial cognitive behavioral therapy may be for other types of mental health challenges, such as a personality disorder, stress management, chronic pain, or eating disorder, but early clinical trials are promising. Find a therapist or doctor and speak with them about the option of cognitive behavioral therapy on your mental health.
Who needs cognitive behavioral therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of mental health treatment that can be used to treat a range of mental health disorders and is recommended by professionals, such as the ptsd guideline for treatment, and for those with severe anxiety or depression. While tests are still being done to see if cognitive behavioral therapy is as effective on other mental health challenges such as an eating disorders, results seem promising. Anybody who is living with problems such depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, a personality disorder, marital problems, or other mental illnesses may benefit. Find a therapist near you who specializes in CBT work or reach out to support groups and family members who may know more.