By: William Drake
Updated July 14, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Whitney White, MS. CMHC, NCC., LPC
Going through depression problems or other mental health illnesses can be very taxing. If you have been having a hard time due to a mental health disorder, then you know how tough it can be to get yourself back on track and feel alright again. Many people wind up making the mistake of trying to take on these conditions all by themselves. You are not alone in facing these difficulties and there are trained and experienced professionals who have science-backed methods for helping with depression and other mental illnesses. You are not alone, and it’s alright to ask for help!
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Finding a skilled therapist is going to allow you to get the proper help and support to work through your depression. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is among the most common types of treatment that people take advantage of because it’s able to help address and work through a broad spectrum of mental health conditions. Many therapists practice CBT and many clients have reaped significant benefits from it.
What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
CBT is a type of psychological treatment that has proven popular and effective. CBT is designed to help patients overcome negative thought patterns to make significant life changes.
CBT works by helping you identify and modify negative emotions and problematic behaviors. It may take some diligence to get results, but the sessions will prove fruitful over time. Some even experience improvement within the first session – it just depends on the person and circumstances! This type of treatment is widely successful at treating many mental illnesses, and it can also help people deal with common issues such as stress.
Examples Of CBT Techniques
Many therapists make use of a technique known as cognitive restructuring. As mentioned earlier, challenging negative thoughts is an important part of CBT. To understand and develop thought patterns, patients may be asked to keep track of their thoughts in a journal. The therapist will then have the patient construct healthier thoughts that challenge anything negative. This can be conducted during sessions, as well as outside of sessions if the therapist gives the client techniques and worksheets to practice outside of treatment.
Another common CBT technique involves practicing mindfulness. Many people tend to obsess over fears of what-if and what might be. Dwelling on these worries can often lead to depression, anxiety, and other unhealthy emotional conditions. Learning to be mindful about your thoughts can change this.
By using mindfulness techniques, patients will focus on the present time and their immediate surroundings. Your thoughts can be directed toward what is going on right now rather than drifting toward anything negative. Mindfulness techniques include focusing on breathing while counting breaths, taking note of how the chair you’re sitting in feels against your back, or finding five things that you can touch and focusing on the sensation of touching those things. Mindfulness is a very good technique for managing depression or anxiety symptoms. Many people use this to bring themselves back to the present moment when they find themselves drifting into a depressive or anxious state.
Several cognitive-behavioral therapists like to focus on skills training. For example, people with social anxieties may lack certain social skills due to their fears. Even if therapists do manage to get the anxiety symptoms under control, the patient may still experience difficulty in interacting with others because of their condition.
This can be changed through skills training. This CBT technique is designed to make up for a skill deficit to instill patients with greater confidence than before. Therapists will work with patients to help them develop social skills, communication skills, and much more. For some people, this can be a crucial part of the process and works to retrain the brain and our behaviors.
Activity scheduling is also an important part of CBT. It might seem odd to think that keeping a schedule could be considered a therapy technique, but this is about scheduling your life to increase certain positive behaviors and awareness. A therapist will work with a client to figure out what positive behaviors they need to focus on. Once they've determined this, they'll help the client fit those behaviors into a schedule.
There are many examples of positive behaviors that will be good for your mental health. This may involve going for a walk, exercising, meditating, spending time reading, practicing mindfulness techniques, and more. Scheduling your life to ensure that you have time for these positive activities will improve your mental health, and help you get into the habit of practicing self-care. It's just one of the many techniques therapists use.
CBT for Anxiety
CBT is one of the most common therapies used to treat anxiety. Anxiety can take a toll on you, and it's often worsened by falling into negative thought patterns. A cognitive-behavioral therapist will help those living with anxiety to change their habits and lessen the anxiety.
Many thought patterns and actions can increase anxiety. A therapist will work with patients to help them recognize what is triggering and/or worsening their anxiety symptoms. Sometimes this will involve changing a thought pattern. Other times, it will simply be learning to avoid situations that cause feelings of extreme anxiety. Still other times, it may involve repeated exposure to this situation or stressor to lessen its impact.
Over time, those experiencing anxiety can make significant improvements. Learning to think in more positive ways and trying to be mindful of what causes your anxiety really does help. If you're experiencing anxiety issues right now, you may benefit from a therapist who practices CBT.
Finding A CBT Therapist
Finding a therapist should not be difficult. Oftentimes, simply searching online will produce results in your area. If you have health insurance, the company's website might have a search tool that allows you to filter therapists in their network by location and method.
Scheduling your first appointment can be difficult, but is highly recommended. There's no reason to wait if you feel you need therapy. After all, if you fractured your leg, you would see a doctor straight away to help it heal, right? Why should our mental well-being be any different?
You don't have to allow depression, anxiety, or other adverse mental health conditions to dictate your life. You have the strength to overcome your problems; you are not your anxiety or depression, and they are not you. They are temporary clouds passing across your sky, and a licensed therapist can help you learn how to clear these clouds and manage them in the future so that they don’t become thunderheads. You never have to do this alone. You can have a dedicated professional by your side who cares about your wellbeing.
Internet CBT(ICBT) is
just as effective as in-person therapy for treating conditions like depression and anxiety, and more cost-effective for both clients and medical health professionals. Among BetterHelp users
, 70% of users with depression experienced significant improvement even several months post-treatment, 98% of users improved overall regardless of their particular mental health condition, and 78% of members with severe depression were no longer classified as such even three months post-treatment.
Talking with an online therapist is a great option. Maybe your schedule is hectic, maybe you have a hard time with face-to-face interactions, or maybe the distance to a therapist is a challenge. By using a therapist through BetterHelp, you can enjoy the benefits of CBT from the comfort of your home
. Sessions are incredibly convenient and can be conducted via phone call, video chat, live voice recording, or instant messaging/texting within the secure BetterHelp app. Check out some reviews of BetterHelp therapists below from people seeking help in overcoming depression and anxiety with CBT.
"Marcelle has been so helpful and responsive, providing clarity and different views on complicated family relationships and is introducing me to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I really enjoy the video chats - they really bring the therapy close and personal. Thank you!"
"Dr. Kapil is very attentive and insightful. She asks introspective questions and offers exercises and mindfulness activities in a way that doesn't feel dismissive, but rather feels supportive. I have really enjoyed working with Dr. Kapil and I have experienced unsatisfactory experiences with other therapists in the past. She does an excellent job of balancing cognitive therapy with emotional healing."
CBT is a tested-and-true, widely used form of therapy. By challenging negative thoughts, we can learn to grow in new ways. Start your journey of self-improvement. Take the first step today.