Life challenges such as grief and stress are common throughout a person’s lifetime. We all have different ways of coping with such challenges, though some are handled less effectively than others. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to have favorable outcomes in its long-term effectiveness in studies that include treating anxiety disorders with youth. Learning how cognitive behavioral therapy works may provide a treatment alternative to other therapies.
It is a problem-specific approach that is oriented on the goal of achieving what the person needs to be successful. The therapy is collaborative in nature and requires that a counselor and individual work together.
What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is also known as CBT for short. It’s a technique that changes the thought patterns of people. CBT is a short-term therapy with a focus on helping a person understand how their beliefs, attitudes, and thoughts are affecting their behaviors and feelings. CBT’s belief system includes:
- Learn ways of behaving and thinking that are beneficial
- Create new habits that allow them to act more effectively
- Show them how unhelpful ways of thinking can lead to psychological problems
- Unhelpful behavior that people learn can also lead to psychological problems
CBT is based around the theory that problems form when a person places a personal meaning on people, things, or an event. Functioning confidently in different scenarios can be difficult when a person has unhelpful thoughts.
Aside from psychological problems such as depression and panic disorders, CBT has been shown to produce positive results in helping to alleviate those who suffer from chronic pain.
How Does It Work?
There are several different ways that cognitive behavioral therapy works in addiction treatment. Not only do these skills apply to addiction recovery, but also for mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Here are some of the ways in which CBT works for recovering individuals:
One of the core aspects of CBT is understanding the person’s present thoughts and beliefs within a situation. The process then helps them to identify how their view creates the challenge that they perceive. By identifying the problem in their belief system, it leads to the steps toward implementing necessary changes.
This pattern of thinking is often described as the person seeing the world a certain way through glasses. CBT works by making people aware of how this pattern of thinking creates their own reality which ultimately determines the way they behave.
Distinguishing Between Facts & Irrational Thoughts
People who suffer from depression and other mental conditions can operate under a negative mindset, seeing only the good or bad in a situation, and jump to conclusions. These negative thought patterns become an automatic reaction.
CBT works to challenge these thoughts and see things in more realistic terms. This change in thinking helps decrease their distress enabling them to function in more beneficial ways.
Developing A Positive Way Of Thinking
Once the person is able to identify their negative thought patterns and separate them from reality, they must acquire new skills. These skills will assist in constructively solving their problems. It increases the feeling of being in control while reducing stress and the possibility of falling into a negative mood.
One of the core issues that people with many mental conditions face is their tendency to blame themselves. It is a common reaction to stressful events and can lead to emotions such as guilt; CBT helps teach a person how to stop self-blame. A person can also learn during CBT to focus on describing, accepting, and understanding instead of making judgments that reduce their ability to react in a positive manner.
Establishing Attainable Goals
Goal setting is helpful in a variety of situations and particularly valuable in CBT. The SMART goal method is commonly used in CBT. This acronym stands for:
Specific – Must be a clear and focused goal
Measurable – Can measure the progress of the goal
Achievable– Must be a feasible, attainable goal
Realistic – Possible to achieve given your skills, etc.
Timely – Realistic time-frame for achieving your goal
Top Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
The overall benefit of CBT is described by the National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists (NACBT) as: “Cognitive-behavioral therapy is based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors, not external things, like people, situations, and events. The benefit of this fact is that we can change the way we think to feel/act better even if the situation does not change.”
Other benefits of CBT include its help in treating:
- PTSD and trauma
- Anger management
- Prevent relapse from addiction
- Relationship resolution
- Eating disorders
- Control a sleep disorder or insomnia
- Panic disorder
- Coping with loss and grief
- Determining the negative emotions and thoughts that lead to a behavior
A study that followed over 400 patients who had depression, found that almost half of the patients benefited from CBT treatment. As a point of reference, people who use antidepressants do not respond as much as two-thirds of the time.
Speak To A Professional In The Addiction Treatment Center
CBT is a useful method of gaining control of your emotions, thoughts, and feelings allowing you to react more constructively in a variety of situations. Talk to a professional at Aquila Recovery today to learn more about how we can help you.