CBT Defined

Finding the right therapy method can be a tricky endeavor. Many different types of therapy exist, but which one is going to be the right fit for you? Cognitive behavioral therapy is often the first choice due to its popularity and its success in treating a number of different disorders. In order to know if it could be the right option for you, you should understand how it works and exactly what it can treat. Take an in-depth look at what it could offer you in these sections below.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a treatment used for a number of different disorders and conditions that can improve your quality of life. It is based on a few key concepts that mostly revolve around the way that you perceive a given situation and then respond to it.

First, cognitive behavioral therapy believes that psychological problems are based on a faulty way of thinking. This means that your thought process varies significantly from the reality of the situation and may be unhelpful to you. Cognitive behavioral therapy is designed to identify instances where this faulty line of thinking pops up in your mind and starts to replace it with some different tools and strategies to help you see the situation more clearly.

Second, this therapy is based on the belief that this faulty way of thinking often creates a pattern of negative learned behavior. You might have picked up a few bad habits along the way that allow you to cope with the things that you believe. For example, you might have a substance abuse problem in response to your faulty way of thinking.

Cognitive behavioral therapy seeks to illuminate these patterns of thinking and acting in order to replace them with more positive coping skills. It is ultimately designed to help you achieve more normalcy in your daily life and to reduce the symptoms of other disorders that you might experience as a result of any faulty thinking.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Used For?

Cognitive behavioral therapy has been proven to be effective with a wide range of disorders that require psychological treatment. Because many disorders are rooted in faulty thinking and misperceptions of the world surrounding us, cognitive behavioral therapy can help to root out those underlying causes that are worsening the symptoms of your disorder.

One of the most prominent issues that cognitive behavioral therapy is known to treat is depression. This condition is often worsened when patients are mired in unhelpful thinking patterns that can perpetuate the cycle. Instead, the therapist works with the patient to help them identify their own faulty ways of thinking and negative coping skills in order to change the potential outcome. In a similar manner, cognitive behavioral therapy can also be used to treat anxiety disorders and other forms of serious mental illness.

Alcohol and drug use problems can also benefit from experiencing cognitive behavioral therapy. Many of these substance abuse issues are rooted in poor coping skills and patterns of unhelpful behavior. Because it can be so difficult to unlearn this behavior and replace it with positive coping skills, it can take a while before any relief from the substance abuse is seen. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps to supply the new skills and patterns of behavior that can break the cycle of addiction.

Similarly, cognitive behavioral therapy is also effective in handling the treatment of eating disorders. Much like substance abuse, these disorders are often rooted in faulty thinking patterns, learned patterns of behavior, and poor coping skills. This form of treatment can help to supply new treatments and skills that can improve outcomes.

Marital problems and other relational issues can also benefit from an intensive round of cognitive behavioral therapy. This therapy can help you to identify problems within your relationships and find new ways to approach a given issue. As a result, you might see more vibrant relationships that have better communication skills than ever before.

As you can see, cognitive behavioral therapy can be used to treat a number of disorders. Here is just a short summary of the issues that it can be used to treat:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Serious mental illness
  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Marital problems
  • Relationship issues

What are the Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

You might be wondering what you can actually stand to gain from participating in a round of cognitive behavioral therapy. Fortunately, you do have a lot that you can learn from a competent therapist who specializes in this type of treatment. When you are willing to make a long-term commitment to cognitive behavioral therapy, you can experience some of these significant benefits in your daily life.

First and foremost, you will begin to understand that your way of thinking is likely what causes the majority of the problems that surround you. You will begin to understand that it is your own faulty thinking and misconceptions that are at the heart of your unhappiness or struggle. By bringing that into the light, you can start to make a more realistic picture of your current situation and make wiser decisions regarding what you should do next.

You also learn more problem-solving skills that enable you to cope in healthier ways. These skills can help you to replace negative patterns and coping skills that have been holding you back for years. For example, a positive coping skill given to you by a therapist may gradually come to replace your drinking habit or your eating disorder.

As you practice these skills, you are likely to grow more confident in your abilities to put them into action in your daily life. Your confidence will eventually carry over into other areas of your life, making you a more self-assured person altogether.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most sought-after treatments because of its suitability for a number of disorders and the long list of potential benefits. No matter what issue you might be facing at the moment, chances are that cognitive behavioral therapy can help. All you have to do is show up with an open mind and be willing to challenge the assumptions you hold about what is going on in your life. Slowly but surely, you will be able to change your way of thinking and minimize any cognitive distortions you currently experience.

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*Articles and all content on our site are for educational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice. Please consult your licensed clinician for a proper evaluation.


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