A lot of people nowadays might have heard of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. For others this blog post might be their first contact with this therapy. But what is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy really? What’s the difference with other therapies? Do clients still lie on a sofa? Is therapy still a process that lasts for years? Find out the answers to these questions in this blog post.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of treatment that focuses on examining the relationships between thoughts, feelings and behaviors. In CBT, clients learn specific skills that they can use in their daily lives. These skills involve identifying negative thoughts and changing them into more positive ones, relating to others in different ways, and changing behavior.
What is different about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, first invented by Aaron Beck is one of the most researched and most effective psychotherapies. It’s a short-term, goal directed, focused on the here-and-now therapy. This means that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a therapy that:
- Can be effective in months (instead of years in other approaches).
- Focusses on the problems you currently experience. So in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy you don´t just talk about your past anymore. Instead you actively work on the problems you want to solve.
- The CBT psychologist, that’s me :), works together with you as a team, in order to reach your goals. Both the psychologist and you will take an active role in the treatment process.
- An important part of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is homework. Don’t expect complicated math problems though. Some examples of homework are: monitoring your thoughts, reading a chapter of a book that’s related to your problem or practicing a relaxation exercice. Homework gives you the possibilty to practice what we’ve worked on in the session at home.
So to answer the question we made before:
Psychotherapy is not just lying on a sofa anymore. It’s an active goal-directed therapy that focuses on the here-and-now.
So how is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy able to help people?
- In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy you learn new tools to cope with your problems, and new ways of thinking, in order to feel better.
- A cognitive behavioral psychologist helps you to identify the cause of why you are feeling this way and give you the support and guidance you need.
- Instead of giving direct advice or explaining personal stories, as friends or family might do, a psychologist will listen to you objectively and he will try to get more information so he can help you the best he can. The therapy sessions will be your moment of personal attention, reflection and working on solving your problems.
- The psychologist will help you to gain resources and strategies you need in order to feel beter.
- In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy you learn how to challenge your thoughts and change them into more helpful and positive ones. This can help you to feel better and to cope better with difficult situations!
Why change the way I think?
The way we think affects in great amount how we feel. When we have a negative thought about something, it can change the way we feel and act. For example, when you see your friend on the street and he doesn’t say “hi” to you, you might think “he doesn’t want to see me”. This might cause you to feel sad, and even to not meet with him again or to feel awkward when you’re with him.
So, as you can see, this single negative thought you had, can have an important impact on your mood and behaviour. In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy you can learn how to challenge your thoughts and change them into more helpful and positive ones. This will in turn, affect both your mood and behavior positively, and will help you to feel better.
In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy you learn how to question and change negative thoughts into more adaptive thoughts.
How effective is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
- Cognitive Behavioral therapy has been found to be effective in more than 1000 outcome studies for depression, anxiety, insomnia, and eating disorders, among others, and it is currently being tested for personality disorders.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has also been proven to be effective for certain medical disorders such as: irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, hypertension, fibromyalgia, post-myocardial infarction depression, noncardiac chest pain, cancer, diabetes, migraine, and other chronic pain disorders.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is also effective in reducing stress, low self-esteem, grief and loss, work-related problems and problems associated with aging.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is as effective as medication, with the benefit that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has more lasting effects, even after you quit therapy.The ultimate goal is for you to be able to be your own therapist and to learn how to help yourself.
If you would like to know more about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or if you would like to make an appointment, feel free to contact me.