There are many different types of therapy, and some are more suited for certain conditions than others. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a type of talk therapy, or psychotherapy, that can help with many emotional and mental conditions or issues. In fact, CBT therapy is more than just one type of therapy; it is a group of different techniques that psychologists, therapists, and counselors use to modify thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and emotions.
The definition of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a short-term psychotherapy treatment that uses a practical and intensive approach to solving issues such as depression, anxiety, addiction, and other behavioral or emotional concerns. It's based on the cognitive model of emotional responses and is more of a brief type of treatment in which the patient learns to challenge and change their unhealthy or unhelpful attitudes, beliefs, thoughts, and emotions to improve the patient's behaviors and emotional regulation. There have been numerous studies and research that showed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy could lead to significant improvement in daily functioning and the patient's quality of life.
Although it was originally designed for treating depression, it has been found that CBT is helpful in many situations such as anxiety, eating disorders, addictions, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), psychotic disorders, and conduct disorders like aggression in adolescents. In fact, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the recommended treatment in many of these disorders before considering medication or other more intensive treatments. Some of the reasons that CBT is introduced include:
With this fallacy, the patient may believe that their good deeds and niceness will reward them and that nothing bad will ever happen to them. While it's true that being nice is a good thing, there is nobody keeping score, and bad things do happen to good people. This type of thinking will lead to bitterness and depression when that reward does not come.
When someone believes that they are always right, they are constantly trying to prove their actions and opinions are better than everyone else's. Not only is this unhealthy for the patient, but it's also not a great personality trait either. Going to any lengths to prove they are right can be a full-time job and a major source of stress and anxiety.
Constantly labeling things is a recipe for disaster. For example, calling yourself stupid or failure will eventually cause you to believe that you are. If the patient thinks they are hopeless and cannot do things right, they will not even try to do anything. Everyone has flaws but it does not define who we are, and everyone has both good and bad qualities.
Some people think that they can change people. Believing that if they help someone or encourage them enough that the person will be what they want them to be. Trying to pressure someone into doing things your way or being how you want them to do not work. People only change if and when they want to change.
With this type of thinking, the person believes that if they feel a particular way, that it must be the truth. For instance, if a person feels that they are boring or dull, they believe that everyone sees them that way because it is a fact. They may believe that someone is mad at them when in reality that person has no ill will towards them at all. Believing something does not make it true.
Although it's common and natural to sometimes think about how you should have or should not have done something differently, some individuals take it to the extreme. They have a certain set of rules for themselves and the rest of the world, and if you do not play by their rules, they get angry. Similarly, if they do not follow their own rules, they feel overwhelming guilt.
With this fallacy, the individual believes that everything that happens to them is someone else's fault. For example, if a person does not get a job they applied for, they may blame it on the interviewer, thinking that they did not give them a fair chance when in fact it was just because they did not have the right experience. Thinking that everything that happens to you because of something that someone else does or thinks is unrealistic and causes undue stress and negativity.
If an individual thinks that everyone has to play by their rules, or it's not "fair" is a fairness fallacy that brings on resentment and arguments with those who do not agree. Believing that you know what is fair and being unable to change or listen to reason can cause disappointment and unhappiness. Life is not fair, and if a person goes around thinking that there is a conspiracy against them or that everyone is against them, it can lead to disaster.
We have all heard of people being controlling and may even be a bit controlling ourselves, but the control fallacy describes an individual who sees themselves as a helpless victim and believes that fate or destiny is against them. They think it is impossible to change things in their life because they have a preset destiny so they will not even try.
Someone who thinks that everything is about them has a fallacy of personalization. Thinking that every little thing that happens is your fault or because of something that you did is unrealistic. The individual may believe that someone's positive or negative response is because of something they said or did when in reality it had nothing to do with them.
Catastrophizing, or expecting disaster all the time can cause chronic anxiety and depression. The saying "making a mountain out of a molehill" is pretty self-explanatory. It just means that the individual always expects things to go wrong or they take a small problem and turn it into a major issue. They can take a common issue like missing a phone call from a friend and go over and over it again and again in their head until they imagine the worst. Like that the friend hates them and will never speak to them again.
Similar to catastrophizing and personalizing, believing that you know what a person is thinking is a fallacy that can take over your thoughts and put ideas into your head that do not need to be there. The person who believes that they know what others are thinking may believe that an individual dislikes them or is ignoring them when the person does not see them and say hi. In other words, the patient may see a friend across a room and believe that a friend saw them but is avoiding them when they did not see them in to begin with.
Overgeneralizing things means that the person is concluding things based on just one thing that happens. They may conclude that something bad will happen every time they see a blue car because they saw a blue car right before they had a car accident. They will expect the same thing to happen every time they see a blue car. This, of course, is completely unrealistic and can lead to OCD or phobias as well as anxiety and depression.
Some individuals believe that things are either good or bad, with nothing in between. There is no middle ground or a gray area, only black or white. In other words, people (including themselves) are either perfect or failures. Someone cannot be good at something; they are either perfect at it with no mistakes or they are horrible at it. For example, if a professional piano player makes one mistake, the individual thinks that they are a failure at piano playing. When the truth is, we all make mistakes. Nobody is perfect.
When a person hears only one part of the story and ignores the rest, that is filtering. In other words, they hear only what they want to hear. Some people call it selective hearing. They will filter out whatever they do not want to hear or see and only concentrate on the rest. Like only thinking about the negative aspects of life and ignoring the positive.
Part of the CBT technique is to learn coping strategies to solve present problems and control behavior. A therapist may choose to do one-on-one therapy face-to-face in the office or online, or they may think that group therapy is better for a certain problem or individual. Basically, CBT is a form of problem-specific talk therapy that focuses on a goal that the patient sets out to achieve. Some of these techniques include:
Whether you have one of the mental or emotional health conditions listed above or if you have any other concerns about your mental or emotional well-being, it's important to talk to a professional. If you feel something is wrong or you just feel "off," contact BetterHelp who can help you find the best counselor or therapist to address your concerns.
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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as outlined by the American Psychological Association is about restructuring thoughts and feelings in a more beneficial manner. For example, instead of having thought patterns geared towards all-encompassing negative ideals, changing the structure of those thoughts into something more positive. A common example would be originally thinking, “I’ll never have a lasting relationship”, and restructuring this to a goal oriented idea of, “None of my prior relationships lasted long. Perhaps I need to reconsider the things I need from a partner to establish a long term relationship.” In essence, CBT helps to turn negative thoughts and feelings into productive mindsets.
What's involved in CBT therapy?
The main method by which CBT is used involves changing the thought patterns of a patient through multiple sessions. These sessions will tackle specific problems and thoughts that may be impeding goal setting or mental health in a patient. CBT is a medically reviewed form of professional mental health help that can have many benefits to those who are living with thought patterns that lead to problems or feed into the symptoms of existing disorders. Cognitive Behavioral Therapists will work closely with a patient to address anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, and more from the mindset of adjusting thought patterns.
What are the three main goals in cognitive therapy?
The three largest goals in cognitive therapy are to relieve symptoms and problems, help a client acquire goal setting and coping skills, and to help a client modify their underling cognitive structure to prevent relapse. This is done through short-term sessions that focus on a person’s thoughts and helps people restructure those thoughts in a more effective way. Many methods work towards resolving a problem by examining the problem itself, but CBT works to change the foundational thinking that caused a potential problem.
What types of disorders are best treated by CBT?
There are a range of disorders that can be treated effectively with CBT, such as: depression, anxiety disorders, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, conditions including phobias, PTSD, sleep disorders, substance abuse, and eating disorders. Unlike other methods, CBT is a form of short-term counseling that helps people learn to restructure negative thoughts in a more positive light to bring about better mental health. It's a medically reviewed approach by the American Psychological Association that has been seen to have many benefits on a number of different mental health challenges. If you believe this approach may be beneficial in your life, find a mental health professional who can help.
What does it mean to think dialectically?
Dialectical thinking refers to a person’s ability to see issues from multiple perspectives and arrive at the most reasonable and economical conclusion of information. It's a medically reviewed form of thinking and problem solving that's taught during therapy sessions and can have numerous mental health benefits. Dialectical thinking is all about taking in multiple perspectives and using intuition and knowledge to come to an accurate conclusion, which can help reduce negative thoughts. Additionally, this type of thinking can help a person develop coping skills in stressful situations and allow them to more accurately judge a situation.
What are the six main points of dialectical behavior therapy?
Some of the medically reviewed main points of dialectical behavior therapy are: acceptance and change, behavioral changes, cognitive restructuring, collaboration, skill set improvements such as problem solving, and support. Sessions based on a dialectical structure, according to the American Psychological Association, can help a patient reduce negative thoughts and improve overall mental health, all while improving skills such as problem solving. It has been medically reviewed and approved as an effective way of treating a range of mental health disorders. For more health information in regards to dialectical behavior therapy, reach out to your doctor or find a mental health professional for you.
Does DBT work for depression?
Medically reviewed health information regarding DBT effectiveness is always being performed, but most research indicates that this approach can be helpful in treating depression. Primarily, dialectical behavioral therapy is helpful at treating borderline personality disorder, but has been expanded into other disorders such as depression. For more health information as to the effectiveness of DBT sessions and how they may benefit you, reach out to a therapist or doctor in your area.