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Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the most used talk therapies. Adults and children can both benefit from it in a wide range of applications.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps people change their negative thinking and behaviour patterns. CBT is based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are all interconnected, and that our thoughts can influence our emotions and behaviours. CBT has been proven to be an effective treatment for a variety of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and substance abuse.
If you’re considering CBT for yourself or a loved one, here’s what you should know about this effective treatment option.
How Does CBT Therapy Work?
Because thoughts and feelings can influence behaviours, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) focuses on recognizing specific thoughts patterns and bringing in new solutions. Psychologists or counsellors usually provide this treatment.
CBT therapy usually consists of sessions with a therapist, during which you will learn about how your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours affect each other. Most people go through 8 to 20 sessions, each session lasting about an hour. CBT Sessions happen every week or every two weeks. During the therapy, you will also learn techniques to change your thinking and behavioural patterns.
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How Was CBT Developed?
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) was developed in the 1960s by Aaron T. Beck, a psychiatrist who was working at the time with patients who had severe depression. He noticed that many of his patients were stuck in a cycle of negative thinking. This negative cycle affected their mood and their ability to function in daily life. He began to develop a form of therapy that would help his patients to break out of this cycle and to learn new, more positive ways of thinking and behaving.
What Can Cognitive Behavioural Therapy help With?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a type of psychotherapy that can help people deal with a wide range of mental health problems, including:
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Eating Disorders
- Panic Attacks
It can also help people suffering from:
CBT can also be used to help people manage physical health conditions that are affected by psychological factors, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and fibromyalgia.
Benefits of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive behaviour therapy is an approach to the treatment of mental health that recognizes the interconnectedness among thoughts, feelings, and behaviour. To create a successful change in one, you may need to modify other areas of your life.
The focus on thoughts makes Cognitive Behavioural Therapy a general method that can be applied for many types of physical and mental ailments. Once a person has learned the skills taught during Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, they can apply the same skills in other areas of their lives that merit improvement.
Another benefit of CBT is that it can be done in individual or group settings. This flexibility allows therapists to tailor treatment to everyone’s needs and to create affordable mental health services to groups.
CBT focuses on current problems and like many other modern therapies does not deal with past issues.
Because of its structured approach, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can be administered in different formats, either through self-help books, in groups, in person or online.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for mental health conditions through multiple studies. If you are struggling, contact us and find out whether CBT might be right for you.
Cons of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
CBT requires the active participation of the patient. As a result, some people may not yield many benefits because of a lack of commitment.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can take time because of the sessions with the therapist but also because the homework in between sessions. As a result, CBT treatment can be quite time consuming.
Because of the strong emphasis on emotions, including anxiety, the patient might feel uncomfortable at the beginning of the treatment.
The structure of a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy treatment has some benefits, but it might make the therapy out of reach for people with learning difficulties or with specialised mental health needs.
Some critics argue that CBT might ignore the influence of the environment on a person’s mental state. By neglecting to address issues arising from families or systems, it might be missing an important part of the puzzle. Other critics argue that the emphasis on current issues might take out of the picture the underlying causes behind mental health condition.
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5 Steps of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy consists of 5 steps that build on each other to help people change their thoughts and behaviours.
Identify Negative Thoughts
The first step in CBT is to identify the thoughts and behaviours that are causing difficulties in your life. Once these have been identified, you can start to challenge them. For example, if you have the thought “I’m not good enough”, you can start to question why you believe this. The process can lead to invaluable insights that participate in furthering the self-discovery process.
Like in hypnotherapy, the second step is to learn new and more positive ways of thinking and behaving. This might involve learning how to reframe a situation and relax. It might also entail rehearsing more useful and effective ways to interpret circumstances. Equipped with these skills, a person is more likely to eliminate triggers.
Goal setting is essential beyond your career. It also greatly matters for your mental health. During a CBT session, a therapist will help you set SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) and draw an implementation map. When you focus on the intermediary milestones while keeping the result in mind, you are more likely to achieve your goals.
Building problem-solving skills is also another focus of cognitive behavioural therapy. The more erratic and unstable a solution is, the more your problem-solving skills become invaluable. By sharpening them with the help of a therapist, you can dampen the impact of adverse event and strengthen your mental and physical health.
Here are the five steps to solving problems during a CBT session:
- Problem identification
- Brainstorming session
- Evaluation of each solution (pros and cons)
- Selection of the most appropriate solution
Self-Assessment / Self-Monitoring
During this step, a person records symptoms, behaviours, thought patterns and experiences. The diary work will contain questions specific to the issue that is being treated. The patient can share them with the therapist to help improve the treatment. The therapist might also add other activities such as journaling, relaxation techniques or role playing.
As you put what you’ve learned into practice in your everyday life, you can get a sense of how your new thoughts and behaviours are working for you.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a short-term therapy that usually lasts for around 12 weeks. However, it can be longer or shorter depending on your needs.
Types of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy is a type of talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.
There are different types of Cognitive Behavioural Therapies, and the approach that will be most effective for you will depend on your individual needs. Some common types of Cognitive BehaviouralTherapy include:
- Rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT): REBT focuses on helping you to identify and challenge irrational thoughts that may be causing negative emotions.
- Cognitive processing therapy (CPT): CPT can help you to understand and change the way you think about traumatic events that have happened in your life.
- Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT): DBT focuses on helping you to manage difficult emotions and improve your relationships with others. The therapist can include emotional regulation and mindfulness in the treatment.
If you think CBT could be helpful for you, you can contact your Renewed Edge mental health professional and get started.
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Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
There has been a great deal of research on Cognitive behavioural therapy. The studies showed that this therapy was effective in treating pervasive conditions such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, and other conditions. Like hypnotherapy, CBT seeks to act at the levels of thoughts and feelings because they affect behaviours. Here is a summary of previous studies:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy can effectively treat symptoms of anxiety and depression in adolescents and children.
- A 2018 meta-analysis of 41 studies noted an improvement in symptoms for people afflicted with anxiety and anxiety related disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help people suffering from insomnia. It can also help people with impaired sleep due to be physical or psychological condition such as pain or depression.
- In the case of substance use disorders CBT can help people develop coping mechanisms, increase resilience, and reduce triggers.
What You Need to Know About CBT
CBT Can Take Time
Like most talk therapies, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy takes time. Change can be difficult. Through regular interactions with your therapist, you will learn to challenge thoughts and come up with better ways to reframe the situation, which leads to better ways to behave in that situation.
CBT Benefits Are Gradual
CBT requires analysis and may lead to insights. You will be practising better strategies in situations which were gradually triggering discomfort. Each experience can lead to more insights and can be analysed further. CBT can be very effective, but experience shows that it’s not as fast as hypnotherapy.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Is Very Structured
CBT goes through different steps. As a result, it might not be suitable for people with limited affinity with structure.
Be Open to Change
All therapies require you to be willing to change. In the case of CBT, you will spend time reviewing and analysing your thought patterns and behaviours. This introspective work cannot be delegated because the major benefit comes from going through this exercise. Learning to understand your internal map and recognise your state is an essential skill. With Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, you can learn that skill.
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How to get Started with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a well-researched and effective therapy for a wide range of psychological issues. If you need support, you can contact us today and reserve your CBT treatment. Whether you are considering face-to-face or online therapy, we have a mental health professional ready for you. Contact us today!