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What Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a common form of psychological treatment that successfully treats mental health issues such as depression, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug addictions, marital problems, eating disorders, and other severe mental illnesses. Cognitive-behavioral treatment is not for everybody. However, it can be extremely helpful for many.

If you have questions about CBT or want to know whether or not it’s right for you, reach out to us at Zelus Recovery today via 208.518.0797 to have your questions answered.

Understanding CBT

Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been proven to lead to significant improvement in functioning and quality of life for a number of different patients. In many cases, CBT has been demonstrated to be as effective, if not more, than other forms of psychological therapy or psychiatric medications.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy differs from many other forms of psychological treatment. This is because advances in CBT have been made based on both research and clinical trials. This means that CBT is an approach for which there is significant scientific evidence that the methods used actually produce a change in its patients.

CBT is based on several core principles, such as:

  • Psychological problems are partially based on unhelpful ways of thinking
  • Psychological problems are partially based on learned patterns of detrimental or unhelpful behavior
  • People suffering from psychological problems can learn better ways of coping with them and, therefore, can relieve their symptoms.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy usually revolves around the idea that we can change thinking patterns. Some strategies might include:

  • Learning to recognize what thinking patterns are creating problems, then evaluating them
  • Using problem-solving skills to cope with difficult situations
  • Gaining a better understanding of behavior and motivation of others
  • Learning to develop a greater sense of confidence in your own abilities

While CBT can focus on changing thinking patterns, it can also focus on ways to change behavioral patterns. Some strategies used to alter behavioral patterns include:

  • Facing one’s fears rather than avoiding them
  • Using role play to prepare for interactions with other people
  • Learning to calm the mind and relax the body

Not all cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques use all of these strategies, and some use others. Rather, a counselor and patient will work together to understand the patient’s problem and develop a successful treatment strategy.

Independence Through Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

CBT has been known to help individuals learn to be their own therapists in a way. Through both exercises within the session as well as “homework” exercises done independently, patients are motivated to develop coping skills. This helps them learn to change their own thinking, emotions, and behavior.

CBT is based on the theory that the way that an individual perceives a situation is more a result of their reaction to the situation than the situation itself. Individuals’ perceptions can often be distorted or unhelpful, particularly when they are experiencing distress. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps patients identify their thoughts and evaluate how realistic they are being. Then, patients are encouraged to learn to change their distorted thinking. By thinking more realistically, patients begin to feel better.

Principles of CBT Treatment

Along with the aforementioned principles of CBT, there are fourteen tenets of good CBT. They are:

  • Treatment plans are based on the ever-evolving cognitive conceptualization
  • It requires a sound therapeutic relationship
  • CBT continually monitors the progress of the patient
  • It can be adapted and tailors treatment to the individual
  • Emphasizes positive thinking and behavior
  • Stresses collaboration and active participation from the patient
  • CBT is goal-oriented
  • Emphasizes focusing on the present
  • CBT is educative
  • CBT is time sensitive
  • Sessions are structured
  • CBT uses guided discovery and teaches patients to respond to their negative thoughts
  • Includes an action plan (therapy homework)
  • CBT uses a variety of techniques in order to change thinking, mood, and behavior

Discover CBT With Zelus Recovery

If you think that CBT could be helpful to you or a loved one’s situation, reach out to Zelus Recovery today via 208.518.0797 to discuss your treatment options.