Cognitive Behavior Therapy Definition
If you’ve been asking yourself ‘what is CBT’, then this article will help you to answer that. CBT involves a form of counseling that assists you in taking control of your thought patterns. If you are suffering from depression or anxiety, it can help you to discover how your thoughts contribute to it. Throughout your time with a cognitive behavioral therapist, you will learn strategies and techniques to improve your situation and upgrade your thinking. Sometimes cognitive behavioral therapies can be used in combination with other psychological interventions and other counseling methods. It is not used just for those who have underlying mental problems, but for those who need some help in dealing with difficult circumstances in life. This is why it has become a widely used healthcare treatment for thousands of people.
Why Do People Undergo CBT?
A large range of common health conditions can be soothed and even alleviated completely through undergoing CBT. Because of its speed and effectiveness, it is often the most preferable form of counseling. Less time is needed to come up with remedies for your particular concerns, and the structure helps to ensure that every patient gains something by the end of their therapy schedule.
Here are some of the emotional concerns that cognitive behavioral therapy can help with:
· Trouble coping with a mental health condition.
· Recurring symptoms from an underlying health problem.
· Treating an illness where medicine does not help.
· Dealing with stress and pressure in everyday life.
· Emotional management.
· Soothing relationship grievances and improving communication skills.
· Overcoming bereavement.
· Moving past mental trauma resulting from previous life experiences.
· Helping adjust to a chronic illness.
· Managing chronic symptoms.
There is also a range of specific disorders that CBT can mitigate, and these include:
· Sleep disruption
· Eating disruption
· Drug abuse
· Personality disorders
· Sexual disorders
The Potential Downsides of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Because it involves a conversation and not much else, CBT is not a high-risk option. However, it can make you feel vulnerable because you must share personal details about yourself with your cognitive behavioral therapist. As a result of having to relive potentially painful experiences, you might eventually feel as if you have no energy. This is a normal response when experiencing intense emotions and is a part of the healing process. Some cognitive behavioral therapies are more invasive than a discussion, and these involve directly visualizing difficult and frightening situations. This can cause you to feel stressed or anxious. Working alongside someone who is trained to deal with this does make these problems easier to manage. They will also teach you how to overcome these feelings if they return in the future.
If you or your doctor make the decision that CBT is required for you to improve, or at the very least is recommended, then there are some steps you should follow to make sure that your therapy gets off to a good start.
1. Locate a practitioner – if your doctor sends you to a therapist, then you will not have to follow this step, but if you have simply been given advice, then doing your research is important. You can use data provided by mental health charities or use a search engine to find a cognitive behavioral therapist near you. Sometimes your employer may be able to help you, and if you think this could be the case, speak to them too.
2. Know the price – CBT is not free, and you should check your medical insurance to ensure that it will cover the costs associated with receiving cognitive behavioral therapies. It might be the case that your provider only covers a few sessions every year, so it is worth finding out to make sure. Your therapist may also be able to help you manage payments.
3. Understand the purpose – CBT is different for every person that uses it, and the same will be true for you. Before you commit to a schedule of sessions, you should have a firm idea of the subjects you would like to raise in the time that you have. An advance meeting before your sessions begin might be helpful to address this.
Ensure Your Cognitive Behavioral Therapist Is Qualified
Being a psychotherapist can apply to a wide range of individuals operating in different fields. It does not suggest a specific job or level of education. There are many types of services that are covered by this term, including psychiatric and psychological services. Sometimes therapy can relate to bereavement, marriage, or one of many other areas of life. To make sure you are getting the right treatment from the right person, you should look for the following:
· Qualifications – Those who are qualified in CBT can have a variety of job descriptions, and these will depend on their career path. Most are educated to Master’s level or higher and have further training on top of that so that they can practice counseling.
· Certificates – if you are having a form of cognitive behavioral therapy, then you should double-check to see that your therapist is also certified in that precise area. That way, you will get targeted treatment.
· Expertise – Even if the cognitive behavioral therapist has all the degrees and certificates needed to help you, you should make sure they have experience in helping people with your specific symptoms.
If you keep these points in mind, it should be much easier for you to find the right therapist for your needs.
The CBT Process
Generally, therapy is given privately between you and your therapist, but it can sometimes be done in a group setting, such as with relatives of yours, or other people suffering from the same symptoms or conditions as you. If you don’t have access to a physical location, then there are some resources available on the Internet that you might find to be particularly useful.
CBT involves understanding and studying your condition so that you feel confident discussing it with others and discovering the most appropriate techniques for mitigating the symptoms and creating a solution that will help you live your life as naturally as possible.
The First Time
The first time you meet your therapist, you will be introduced to them and have time to form a bond with them. This will help you to feel comfortable. The conversation will also cover what you’d like to address during the therapy, and how your past may have contributed to where you are today. This will enable the cognitive behavioral therapist to gain a deep awareness of who you are and why you are the way you are. You can also take the initiative and question your therapist to make sure they’ll be a good fit for you. Some of the points you might like to raise with them are:
· The methods they use to help patients.
· The method they believe is best for you.
· What your treatment will aim to achieve.
· How long each session will last.
· How many sessions needed.
You will likely need to undergo several sessions before your therapist can fully address these questions, so bear that in mind when you’re asking. However, if you do not think your therapist is right for your needs, then feel free to try another one. You must be able to reveal your inner thoughts safely and comfortably.
The goal of your therapist will be to tease out your motivations, desires, and beliefs. They do this so that they can gain a full understanding of why you are suffering from your problems. This might be difficult for you, but this is simply a part of the process. Revealing ourselves to other people is often a challenging experience, particularly if we are not used to it. CBT is a specific process and will aim to reach targets that are set at the beginning of your therapy sessions. Sometimes you will be given work to do in between sessions. This could be research, or it could be practicing certain techniques. The overall goal will be to apply the therapy to yourself in everyday life. Depending on what you prefer and on the state of your health, your therapist will take a different approach tailored to you. This might involve adding another type of therapy along with CBT.
What is CBT Treatment?
Here are the steps that CBT usually involves:
1. Identification of the Context – there will be reasons that lead to the way you now behave, and these need to be uncovered so that they can be addressed. It might be a health problem you have or a suppressed emotion. This will also be dealt with when you and your therapist decide on your therapy goals.
2. Gaining Awareness of Your Mind – you will experience a variety of desires, hold several opinions, and think in a certain way regarding the context you and the therapist identified. These will be revealed by discussing them openly and fully. Another aspect of this is addressing how you speak to yourself. Sometimes this might be very negative, or unrealistic. Keeping a journal is often advised.
3. Identification of Problematic Thoughts – It will usually be the way that you think is responsible for the way that you act. To overcome this, your therapist will work with you so that you can observe and track your reactions within each situation inside and outside of the therapy.
4. Change the Thought Patterns – Once everything has been understood, and you aware of your actions and behaviors, the final step is overcoming the poor habits in your thinking that have exacerbated the situation. This is one of the hardest parts of CBT, but it is where the transformations happen. Once you master this, your problems will be far more manageable.
How Long It Will Take
The number of sessions a person has typically ranges between 5-20, which is quite short compared to other forms of therapy. The precise number will be determined by you and your therapist and will reflect your needs. Here are some factors that will influence this:
· Your specific condition.
· How strong your symptoms are.
· The length of time you have been suffering from your problem.
· How you have been coping with the problem.
· The speed of your improvements.
· Your stress levels.
· The support you get from people around you such as relatives and friends.
CBT is very private, and therefore your therapist will usually be obligated to keep everything secret. However, there may be some circumstances where this is not the case. The law does make certain exceptions, and these are:
· Wherever there is a risk of danger to your life or the life of another.
· Wherever there is a risk that someone may be harmed imminently.
· Wherever there is a risk that a vulnerable child or adult could be harmed.
· Wherever there is a risk that you are no longer able to look after yourself.
The Result of CBT
Cognitive behavioral therapy may not solve your problems completely, but it should provide you with the means to compensate for them and stop them from destroying your life and creating negative situations. Speaking with a certified CBT therapist will be able to give you more information on sessions and if you are the right candidate to try CBT, DBT, EMDR, EFT or other modes of therapy.
Ensuring You Benefit from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Here is what you can do to maximize the effectiveness of any CBT you are or will be, receiving:
1. Look at it as a team effort – your therapist is not superior to you, but an equal. You should share information with them and critique their responses just as you would with a friend or family member. That way you can come to a common agreement and address all your (and their) concerns.
2. Be truthful – there is no point in having personal therapy if you are going to withhold certain things which you find inconvenient or embarrassing. You need to overcome them by sharing them and sharing your reactions to those situations or actions. If you are feeling hesitant, it is important to share this.
3. Keep to the plan – sometimes you may question your commitment to therapy or feel like it’s not worth it. If you acquiesce to these feelings, then all your progress will be undone. Make sure that you go to all the sessions you have arranged.
4. No overnight success – CBT is a process that takes time for effects to appear. You will not get better simply by attending one or two sessions. You will probably feel worse as you begin therapy because you have to reveal difficult things. However, after a few sessions, things should improve.
5. Complete assigned tasks – if your therapist has requested you to complete certain assignments outside of therapy, then you should do them. They will be designed to assist you and to integrate what you’ve learned into your everyday life.
6. Be open about your views – you might feel that CBT is not having the affects you believe it should be having. If this is the case after a few sessions, mention it to your therapist. They will be able to help address this.