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What Is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)?
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) helps people understand the thoughts and feelings that influence behaviors. CBT is commonly used to treat a wide range of disorders including addictions, depression, anxiety, panic and phobias.
Cognitive behavior therapy is generally short-term and focused on helping clients deal with a very specific problem. During the course of treatment, people learn how to identify and change destructive or disturbing thought patterns that have a negative influence on behavior.
The underlying concept behind CBT is that our thoughts and feelings play a fundamental role in our behavior. The goal of cognitive behavior therapy is to teach patients that while they cannot control every aspect of the world around them, they can take control of how they interpret and deal with things in their environment.
CBT is evidence-based and has been shown to effectively help patients overcome a wide variety of problem behaviors.
The Components of Cognitive Behavior Therapy
People often experience thoughts or feelings that reinforce or compound faulty beliefs. Such beliefs can result in problematic behaviors that can affect numerous life areas, including family, romantic relationships, work and academics. For example, a person might experience negative thoughts about his or her own abilities or appearance. As a result of these negative thinking patterns, the individual might start avoiding social situations or pass up opportunities for advancement at work or at school.
In order to combat these destructive thoughts and behaviors, a cognitive-behavioral therapist begins by helping the client to identify the problematic beliefs. This stage, is important for learning how thoughts, feelings and situations can contribute to problem behaviors.
The second part of cognitive behavior therapy focuses on the actual behaviors that are contributing to the problem. The client begins to learn and practice new skills that can then be put into use in real-world situations. For example, a person suffering from drug addiction might start practicing new coping skills and rehearsing ways to avoid or deal with social situations that could potentially trigger a relapse.
In most cases, CBT is a gradual process that helps a person take incremental steps towards a behavior change. Someone suffering from social anxiety might start by simply imagining himself in an anxiety-provoking social situation. Next, the client might start practicing conversations with friends, family and acquaintances. By progressively working toward a larger goal, the process seems less daunting and the goals easier to achieve.
Uses of Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Cognitive behavior therapy has been used to treat people suffering from a wide range of disorders, including anxiety, phobias, depression and addiction. CBT is one of the most researched types of therapy.
In order for CBT to be effective, the individual must be ready and willing to spend time and effort analyzing his or her thoughts and feelings..
Cognitive behavior therapy is also well-suited for people looking for a short-term treatment option that does not necessarily involve pharmacological medication. One of the greatest benefits of cognitive-behavior therapy is that it helps clients develop coping skills that can be useful both now and in the future.