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Kaela's Blog

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and How Can it Help Me


It is a short-term, goal-oriented therapy that is based on the idea that our thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes can influence our emotions and behaviors. The goal of CBT is to help individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to their emotional and mental health problems.


CBT was developed in the 1960s by Aaron T. Beck, a psychiatrist, who noticed that his patients had negative thoughts and beliefs that were causing their emotional and behavioral problems. He realized that by helping his patients change their negative thoughts, he could help them feel better and behave differently. Since then, CBT has become one of the most widely used and effective forms of therapy for a variety of mental health conditions.


CBT is based on the cognitive model, which suggests that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all interrelated. It posits that our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves, others, and the world around us can influence our emotions and behaviors. For example, if we have negative thoughts about ourselves, such as "I am worthless," we are likely to feel depressed and have low self-esteem. This, in turn, can lead to behaviors that reinforce these negative thoughts, such as isolating ourselves or avoiding social situations.


The first step in CBT is to identify negative or distorted thinking patterns, which are known as cognitive distortions. Cognitive distortions are common thought patterns that can be unrealistic or inaccurate. Examples of common cognitive distortions include all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralization, and catastrophizing. Once these thought patterns are identified, the therapist works with the patient to challenge and reframe them.


CBT also involves the use of behavioral techniques to help individuals change their behavior. For example, if someone is struggling with social anxiety, the therapist might use exposure therapy to help the person gradually face their fears and become more comfortable in social situations. This might involve role-playing, practicing social skills, and gradually increasing exposure to social situations that cause anxiety.


CBT is a collaborative process between the therapist and patient. The therapist helps the patient identify their negative thinking patterns and behaviors, and then works with them to develop strategies to challenge and change these patterns. The therapist may assign homework or tasks for the patient to practice in between sessions, such as keeping a thought diary or practicing relaxation techniques.


One of the strengths of CBT is its focus on the present and the future. CBT is not concerned with exploring the past or analyzing childhood experiences, but rather with identifying and changing current patterns of thinking and behavior. This makes it a highly effective therapy for a wide range of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.


CBT is an evidence-based therapy that has been extensively researched and shown to be effective in numerous clinical trials. It has been found to be as effective as medication for the treatment of many mental health conditions and is often used in conjunction with medication for the best outcomes.


In conclusion, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on the relationship between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It is based on the cognitive model, which posits that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all interrelated. CBT is a short-term, goal-oriented therapy that is highly effective for a wide range of mental health conditions. It involves the use of cognitive and behavioral techniques to help individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to their emotional and mental health problems. The collaborative nature of CBT makes it an effective therapy for those who are motivated to make changes and improve their mental health.

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