What is CBT?
CBT is a type of therapy that increases a person’s awareness of thoughts and feelings and their influence on behaviors. By increasing awareness of maladaptive thoughts and increasing one’s control over these thoughts, CBT can impact emotions and behaviors. This approach teaches people to recognize unhealthy or unproductive thoughts and thought patterns and develop more balanced and realistic ways of thinking. It also encourages a person to replace problematic, self-defeating behaviors with more productive ones.
Thoughts such as “I am a failure,” “I will never get that job,” “I will get sick… and might die,” or, “If I get on that plane it will crash,” are all examples of thoughts that typically result in avoidance, lack of productivity and/or unhappiness. The cognitive therapy component of CBT can challenge these thoughts and produce more encouraging ones such as “It’s worth a try,” or “This is hard but I can handle it” or “I am good at many things even if not perfect at this one.” The behavior therapy component helps one confront and master situations (job interview, a social situation, or going somewhere new) instead of avoid them. It may also encourage increased pleasure and positive experiences through simple activities.
Why use CBT?
CBT has been proven effective in the treatment of numerous psychological problems including anxiety, depression, phobias, panic disorder, substance abuse and others. This treatment is beneficial as an adjunct treatment for various other psychological and medical problems and can be quite effective in improving everyday difficulties such as anger and coping problems. CBT is known to be more brief than other therapies, with many treatments lasting approximately 10-12 sessions. However, for more complex problems, longer treatment may be warranted.