Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a relatively short-term therapy designed to help people find new ways to behave by changing their thought patterns. Engaging with CBT therapy near me specialist can help you alleviate stress, deal with grief, cope with complicated relationships and face other life challenges with confidence.
CBT works on the basic principle that how we think and interpret different occurrences in our lives can affect how we behave and feel.
CBT is more goal-oriented and a problem-specific approach that requires the patient’s active involvement to achieve desired results. The therapy sessions focus more on the patient’s day-to-day challenges, behaviors, and thoughts.
Since it is time-limited, the patient knows exactly when the sessions will end and have some idea what to expect. In most cases, a CBT course will consist of up to 20 one-to-one sessions. It can also take the form of group sessions.
This article discusses everything you need to know about cognitive behavioral therapy and some of the conditions it can treat. Read on to learn more.
What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? Where Can I Find CBT Therapy Near Me?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a treatment approach that helps patients recognize negative or unhelpful thoughts and behavior patterns. Experts in the medical field consider it the gold standard of psychotherapy.
The primary objective of CBT is to help patients identify and explore the ways their emotions, thoughts, and feelings can affect their actions. The belief is that once they recognize these patterns, they can start learning how to reframe their thoughts more positively and helpfully.
Unlike the other types of therapy, CBT doesn’t focus on talking about your past. Instead, it focuses on present circumstances, emotions, and feelings in real-time. A CBT specialist may ask about the patient’s family history to get a better sense of the entire person, but they won’t spend a lot of time evaluating past events.
CBT is appropriate for people of all ages, including children, teens, and adults. Research shows that CBT can be used to address a wide range of conditions, including major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders, and many more.
What Are the Core Concepts of CBT?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is largely based on the idea that your emotions, thoughts, feelings, and actions are highly connected. In other words, how you think and feel about something will most probably affect the action you take.
For instance, if you are under a lot of stress at your workplace, you might start to see situations differently and make decisions you wouldn’t ordinarily make.
However, another key concept of CBT is that these thought and behavior patterns can be altered or changed completely. According to the American Psychological Association, the key principles of CBT are:
- Psychological issues are partly based on unconventional and unhelpful ways of reasoning.
- Psychological issues are partly based on learned patterns of one’s behavior.
- Individuals struggling with different issues can change and improve with better coping mechanisms and management aimed at relieving their symptoms.
Some of the most popular techniques used in CBT include SMART goals, journaling, guided discovery and questioning, thought recording, self-talk, positive activities, cognitive restructuring, situation exposure, and many more.
Homework is one of the most important parts of CBT, regardless of your therapist’s techniques. Like school assignments helped you practice and develop skills you learned in class, CBT assignments are designed to help you become more familiar with the wide range of skills you are developing.
If you consider CBT for your problem, talk to your primary doctor about it. They will be in a good position to recommend a good CBT specialist locally.
What Does CBT Treat?
The first CBT model was created over 50 years ago to treat depression. Today, there are many CBT models for treating a wide range of conditions. They include:
- CBT therapy for anxiety
- CBT for substance abuse
- Cognitive behavioral therapy for PTSD
- CBT anger management
- Cognitive behavioral therapy for depression
- CBT for social anxiety
- Cognitive behavioral family therapy
- Schizophrenia cognitive therapy
Let us look at some of these models in-depth:
1. CBT for Substance Abuse
CBT has shown encouraging results when combined with other recovery options for treating substance abuse. The primary purpose of CBT for substance abuse is to help victims learn how to identify negative and unhelpful thoughts and actions that may be pushing them to substance abuse.
CBT for substance abuse is a relatively short-term but highly focused therapeutic approach to helping drug-dependent individuals become abstinent. This approach has two main components: functional analysis and skills training.
The functional analysis involves careful evaluation of the causes and consequences of a behavior. The therapist and the patient work together to identify thoughts, feelings and circumstances that may be pushing one to drug abuse.
The entire process helps identify risks that may lead to a relapse. Functional analysis may also provide great insights into why the person started abusing drugs.
In skills training, the patient is taught how to unlearn maladaptive behaviors and re-learn better coping skills. It means that one will learn how to avoid turning to drugs and alcohol to deal with their problems.
This is a critical component of CBT because it helps substance abuse victims unlearn their old habits and develop healthier habits. It involves educating them on ways to change how they think and how to deal with different life challenges.
2. CBT for Anxiety Disorders
The truth is that anxiety disorders don’t have a quick fix. Although medications are part of a good treatment plan, CBT can help you overcome anxiety. It plays a critical role in helping you figure out the primary cause of your anxiety and the steps you can take to deal with it.
CBT for anxiety disorders can mean the same thing as CBT for social anxiety, CBT therapy for anxiety and even CBT for teens because anxiety is common among teenagers.
CBT for anxiety disorders operates on the principle that when you create space between a certain situation and your thoughts, emotions, and feelings, you get the power to handle the situation in the best possible way.
It doesn’t hold you back from making sound decisions or focusing on your primary goal. Being able to let go of unhealthy thoughts provides you with an opportunity to start considering more factual alternatives. This can lead to better experiences and less uncomfortable emotions.
Generally, when you have negative thoughts and feelings about a given situation, it can start to affect your actions and behavior towards it over time. With time, these behaviors start to turn into repeating patterns.
With the help of CBT, you can learn to pay attention to these patterns and find ways of changing them along with the emotions and feelings tied to them. Given time and proper guidance, you can learn how to stop these behaviors from happening in the future.
3. CBT for Mood Disorders
The primary treatment for bipolar disorder is usually a combination of medication and psychotherapy. CBT is the most common form of psychotherapy used for bipolar disorder.
Generally, CBT is critical to the treatment of bipolar disorder and depression by addressing the depressive signs that develop as part of the depression episodes. It also helps address feelings of guilt and other negative thoughts about manic episodes.
With bipolar disorder cognitive behavioral therapy, you learn how to address feelings of losing friends or relationships and how to handle different situations that may drive you into depression.
The awareness helps manage a manic episode by allowing the patient to set up an appointment with a psychiatrist, embrace behaviors that encourage relief such as self-care, and make practical plans to mitigate the risks associated with bipolar disorder.
4. CBT for Psychosis
Psychosis describes a condition in which an individual loses touch with reality. In most cases, the victim may end up believing things that are not true. They might even see or hear imaginary things. Psychosis is a common symptom of schizophrenia.
One of the most effective treatment options for this condition is schizophrenia cognitive therapy, also referred to as cognitive behavioral therapy adapted for psychosis (CBTp).
Through CBTp, patients learn how to change their behaviors and thinking to make psychosis less distressing. Instead of getting rid of their imaginary perceptions, patients are taught how to react to them so that they aren’t harmful to themselves or other people.
During CBTp, your therapist will try to get a clear sense of your psychosis and how it affects you. CBTp therapists are fully trained to take hallucinations and delusions seriously, and they will help you choose treatment goals that matter to you.
The primary objective isn’t to get rid of the symptoms but to help the patient lead a normal life and do constructive things such as spending time with friends and family members.
Things to Keep in Mind
Cognitive behavioral therapy can be incredibly helpful. However, before you decide to go for it, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. They include:
- CBT isn’t a cure: Therapy only helps to improve your condition, but it won’t cure it. In some cases, emotional distress and mental health issues persist even after therapy sessions end.
- It isn’t always fun: CBT can challenge you emotionally before it helps you get better. Sometimes, you will need to talk about things that may be distressing or painful. So, don’t worry if you start shedding tears during the session.
- Results take time: CBT sessions can last several weeks or even months. In most cases, you will only have one session per week. During the first session, you and your therapist will set goals and agree on how long the therapy might last.
CBT is a form of psychotherapy that teaches people how to change their perceptions and control their thoughts, feelings, and emotions, not to affect their actions. The overall impact of CBT is a positive effect on one’s behavior, mood, and actions.
CBT can help people with many problems ranging from depression, anxiety disorder, substance abuse disorder, mood disorder, and even psychosis.
If you are considering CBT for your mental health issue, ensure you find a qualified and highly experienced professional. Your primary doctor may be able to recommend the best CBT specialist in your area.