Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based treatment that helps you address problematic emotions, thoughts, and behaviors through examining patterns, promoting change, and devising solutions.
Dr. Aaron Beck first developed CBT in the 1960s as he was working to test psychoanalytic concepts of depression. Rather than yielding the results he was hoping for, he used this process of therapy to help conceptualize depression and began using it on his patients.
How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Works
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can appear to be a complex form of treatment. However, once engaged, you can begin reaping the many successes that come as a result of your therapeutic involvement.
CBT generally includes participation in numerous steps that help change problematic thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. First, you will work with your therapist to identify your prominent areas of concern. This can include anything from feeling overly angry to experiencing panic attacks.
For some, there might be more than one issue that plagues them. However, working to identify issues with a therapist can help you decide which issues you want to address first.
Once the main areas of concern are identified, your therapist will work with you to help you become aware of your thoughts and emotions surrounding these issues. This process will be prompted by your therapist, who will encourage you to communicate as much as you can about your thoughts and feelings. This can include determining your personal beliefs, your values, and your perception of the world and others.
Examining self-talk — which is what a person thinks about themselves, their feelings, and their behavior — is also common during this step. It is suggested that you keep a journal at this time so you can document your thoughts.
In CBT, a therapist helps you recognize any negative patterns of thinking or behavior that you communicate or record. A therapist will also work to get you in tune with your physical and emotional responses in preparation for change. Your therapist helps you recognize any negative patterns of thinking and behavior and asks you to challenge your self-talk to impact your behavior.
What Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treat?
Since Beck’s discovery, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has become one of the most widely practiced forms of therapy in the world. Not only has it been used to help the many different forms of depression, but it also works to help treat other mental illnesses, including the following:
- Personality disorders, such as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
- Anxiety disorders, including Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and trauma
- Dissociative Disorders
- Eating disorders, including Body Dysmorphic Disorder, anorexia, bulimia, and Binge Eating Disorder
- Gambling and sex addiction
- Substance abuse problems
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder
CBT is used to treat adults, as well as children, teens, and young adults who might be experiencing any of these issues and/or closely connected to someone who is.
Evidence Behind Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been practiced for more than 50 years, and it is considered an evidence-based therapy, which means that it is endorsed by many different studies that prove its overall effectiveness. Since CBT is used for many different forms of mental illness, these studies vary in terms of participants and mental health or behavioral issues.
A systematic review on the use of CBT to treat depression showed that the participants of these studies saw the largest reduction in their symptoms in comparison to other forms of therapy.
A randomized controlled trial for those who struggled with psychosis proved that, with a minimum of nine months of intensive CBT therapy, participants’ symptoms improved greatly and continued to improve over the following nine months post-treatment.
Like many forms of therapy, the effectiveness of the process depends on the participants. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is important than an individual strives to develop a strong partnership with their therapist, practice good communication, stick to the treatment plan, and do what is asked of them when they are not in session to help promote positive results from their Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at Clearview Women’s Center
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an important component of treatment at Clearview Women’s Center. You will use CBT both in individual therapy sessions and during weekly groups to help you pinpoint and change those behaviors that are most troubling to you.