What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic modality that can be used to improve psychological health. CBT “is a form of psychological treatment that has been demonstrated to be effective for a range of problems.” (1) Some examples include anxiety disorders, depression, drug/alcohol use issues, marital troubles, severe mental illness, and even eating disorders. 

While CBT can be used to treat a wide array of conditions, it stands on the theory that a person’s thoughts and perceptions closely correlate with their reaction. Therefore, the strategy behind  CBT is to identify a person’s thoughts and behaviors as well as the impact these may have. Exploring and identifying these patterns within therapy can assist in creating change within one’s life. 

How effective is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Through studies, CBT has shown its effectiveness at helping people significantly improve their ability to function as well as their quality of life. Based on the research that has been conducted on CBT, the method is now considered to be “as effective as, or more effective than, other forms of psychological therapy or psychiatric medications.” CBT is now considered one of the more common therapeutic modalities due to its effectiveness. 

A look at some of the strategies used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

One of the main interventions utilized  in CBT is to identify the unhealthy thought processes and patterns an individual may have developed and work on creating realistic changes. Some of the strategies that are often used in CBT treatment include:

  • Helping you learn how to feel confident in your abilities.
  • Develop “a better understanding of the behavior and motivation of others.”
  • Help you identify the “distortions” in your thought process and “reevaluate them in light of reality.”
  • Help you develop problem-solving skills that make it easier for you to “cope with difficult situations.”

Additionally, CBT strategies aim to help individuals become better prepared to handle difficult situations that may arise. CBT can also be used to help individuals tackle their fears as opposed to responses such as running from them. Benefits can also include helping individuals to learn how to calm one’s mind and body, says the American Psychological Association (APA).

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