In the simplest sense, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a treatment method that uses conversation in changing your mentality and behavior when facing problems.
If you’re suffering from depression or anxiety disorder, then CBT is a good treatment plan for you. Likewise, you must avail this therapy from a licensed psychotherapist.
What Is the Core Principle of CBT?
CBT rests on the main concept that your actions are affected by what you feel and think about a problem or situation. Therefore, the therapist will help you modify your emotions and thinking so that you can positively cope with any risk factors.
How Thoughts and Emotions Affect Your Behavior?
Here are four main situations on how your behavior is influenced by what you think and feel.
- When you know how to manage and positively react to any negative situations, you’ll feel less negative stress.
- The specific behavior you exhibit for a negative thought can repeat over time.
- Your negative thinking and its associated stress can lead to unhealthy behaviors like unprotected sex, alcohol drinking, or suicidal acts.
- Your negative thinking highly contributes to greater negative stress levels.
How Does CBT Work?
Basically, your psychotherapist will help you manage how you react, feel, and think when encountering problems. This is important so you can avoid any cycle of unhealthy behaviors when having negative thoughts and emotions.
Your therapist will help you break the problem into smaller pieces, so it’s manageable. After that, he will help you do a positive way of coping with any stressful event at the moment.
Overall, CBT is a practical method of helping you maintain a positive way of living, no matter what stressful events come your way.
What are the Strategies of CBT?
Generally, there are eight (8) strategies for CBT treatment, and your therapist will help you find which technique works best for you.
- Self-talk: Your therapist will ask you to talk to yourself in case you encounter a specific stressful event. Then he will help you change any negative thoughts and emotions you’re saying to yourself.
- SMART Goals: You will create goals that are SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Don’t worry since your therapist will assist you with that.
- Situation exposure: You’ll be assigned to write down those events which give you stress and list them in increasing stress levels. After that, your therapist will gradually expose you to each situation and give you some relaxing strategies to reduce stress. Consequently, this technique aims to reduce the stress level you feel upon facing these risk factors.
- Guided discovery and questioning: Your therapist will ask you to ask yourself about how you’re going to react to various stressful events. With that, you’ll be discovering more about yourself and your therapist will help you modify any unhealthy thoughts and emotions.
- Journaling: You will write down all your negative thoughts and emotions in a week, and then gradually replace that with positive ones.
- Thought recording: It works the same way with journaling but you’ll have to secure proof of your negative thoughts and find evidence that’ll prove it wrong.
- Positive Activities: List rewarding activities you’ll do every week that will help boost your positive mind and feeling.
- Cognitive restructuring: You will work with your therapist in finding those blockages or disruptors of your positive thoughts. Afterward, you will find ways on how to slowly overcome or remove them from your head with the help of your therapist.
CBT Is Used to Treat What Disorders?
The practicality and effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) contribute to its vast application. Besides that, it is done systematically and there are instances when you just have to avail fewer sessions than other therapies.
Alongside this, here are some of the common disorders or situations which are treatable by CBT.
- Bipolar disorders
- Sexual mental disorders
- Eating disorders
- Depression and anxiety
- Substance use disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Panic attacks
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
Moreover, CBT is also used for medicating these three health conditions: irritable bowel symptoms (IBS), fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
What’s Expected in a CBT Session?
Are you planning on undertaking CBT but you still have some questions on how it will go? Well, here are the general steps that happen during a CBT session.
- Generally, you will have a once or twice a week session with your therapist, and it usually lasts around 30 to 60 minutes.
- In a session, you will work with your therapist in breaking down your problem(s) into smaller chunks, so it’s more manageable. It will be divided into three: thoughts, emotions, and situation or trigger.
- After breaking it down, you will determine if what you’re feeling or thinking is realistic or not. Also, you will have to evaluate if it helps you become a better person or not. All these things you will work out with your therapist.
- With the help of your therapist, you will change those negative thoughts and emotions with positive ones that’ll help you relax when encountering those distressing events.
How Can You Prepare Yourself for CBT?
Practically, you avail CBT when you voluntarily convinced yourself that you need it, or when your doctor, friend, or family recommended it.
We are done talking about what happens in a CBT session, so let’s move forward on how you can prepare yourself from undertaking this therapy. Check out these notes below since they will help start your CBT session:
- Look for a reliable psychotherapist
Typically, you have three means of getting a recommendation from a reputable CBT therapist: (1) from your doctor, (2) an insurance provider, and (3) from your friends or families.
Conversely, if the three recommendations don’t work for you, then you can find your therapist on your own on the web.
- Know the possible cost of treatment
Price is the common factor affecting any patients’ decision of availing CBT, so you need to know how much it will be. Alongside this, ask your health or insurance provider if they shoulder your treatment expense.
- Check your needs
Once you find your therapist, take around 30 to 60 minutes to write down your needs or problems before scheduling an appointment. By doing this, you have already aligned your thoughts and concerns before your CBT session.