CBT is a talking therapy that has a central place in evidence-based practice and has been backed by therapists around the world. It is recommended by National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) for a range of psychological problems. CBT looks at how we think about a situation (cognitive) and how this, in turn, affects the way we feel and act (behaviour). Similarly, our actions could also affect how we think and feel. So, when we think or act in an unhelpful way, it usually creates a perpetual cycle that maintains the problem. Compared to other forms of therapy, this therapy focuses on the ‘here and now’ problems. It could also help you to gain more awareness of how you think about yourself, others and the world. Speaking in practical terms, it is a highly collaborative therapy where the client and therapist work together to identify how to understand unhelpful thought patterns that impede the client’s daily life.
In CBT, one can learn to identify, question and change the thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and assumptions related to the problematic emotional and behavioural reactions to certain kinds of situations.
By recording and monitoring the person’s thoughts during situations that lead to emotional upset, and can learn the way we think, can contribute to emotional problems such as depression and anxiety. In CBT, a person can learn to reduce these emotional problems by:
- Identifying distortions in their thinking.
- Seeing thoughts as ideas about what is going on rather than as facts.
- “Stand back” from their thinking to consider situations from different viewpoints.
For CBT to be effective, you must be open and willing to discuss your thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors and to participate in exercises during sessions. For best results, you must be willing to do homework between sessions.
CBT is an effective treatment for many psychological conditions. These include:
Mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder.
Anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, specific phobias – a fear of heights, animals, and enclosed spaces, social phobia- social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder.
- Bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.
- Body dysmorphic disorder (i.e., body image).
- Substance use disorders (i.e., smoking, alcohol and other drugs).
CBT can also be used to help people with:
- Chronic (persistent) pain.
- Habits such as pulling of hairs, picking of skin, and tics.
- Sexual and relationship problems.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Long-standing interpersonal problems.
A similar framework is used to treat different emotional problems in CBT; however, the approach and strategies vary and are customized to address each specific problem.
CBT – An effective therapy
CBT is an effective therapeutic approach as it is:
- Problem-focused and goal-oriented.
- Proven strategy and skills.
- Emphasizes the importance of a good, collaborative therapeutic practice.
- A proven relationship between the therapist and client.
These was a brief discussion about how Cognitive Behavioural Therapy- CBT works, and how it applies to treating people experiencing emotional distress.
Stay tuned with BYJU’S to learn more about the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and other available treatments to improve mental health.
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