What is cognitive-behavioral therapy?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a form of psychotherapy that is usually short-term and aimed at addressing various mental, emotional, and cognitive problems. It’s directed toward present-time issues and is based on the foundational idea that the habits and patterns of thoughts present in any individual contribute greatly to how he or she feels and behaves.
If these thought patterns and unconscious habits can be brought into awareness and changed, the result will be an improvement in cognition (both emotionally and functionally) and behavior. As an anxiety therapist like our friends at Lotus Wellness Center can explain, that compassionate and experienced clinical psychologists are highly trained in this technique, and have used it to treat patients facing a wide range of mental and emotional adversity.
What is cognitive-behavioral therapy used to treat?
Clinical psychologists have used cognitive behavioral therapy to successfully treat a wide range of issues in all age groups. These include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Adjustment disorder
- Panic disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Anorexia nervosa
- Bulimia nervosa
- Conduct disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Social phobias
- Relationship/marital difficulties
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Stress disorder
- Chronic pain conditions (e.g. fibromyalgia)
- Many others
How does cognitive behavioral therapy work?
The core treatment model of cognitive-behavioral therapy rests on the idea that it is not necessarily the negative events themselves that occur in our lives that cause us distress, but the meaning that we place on them.
When we connect negative thoughts and associations to these events in our lives, it can disillusion ourselves to a point where we no longer see or do things that do not fit into this negative framework of our lives. Often and over time, these negative thoughts become incorporated into our subconscious modes of thinking and we become trapped in a downward spiral of negative thinking reaffirming the negative framework that has been established, with the actual positive elements in our reality left by the wayside.
For example, imagine a depressed person. He or she may think, “I don’t want to leave the house today. It won’t be fun, only bad things can happen. I’ll just call in sick to work and stay inside.” When this thought is acted upon, the person prevents any opportunity to prove those thoughts as actually being true, and therefore remains inside, sinks further into depression, and continues the cycle of negative thoughts enabling negative behavior.
Clinical psychologists use cognitive behavioral therapy to expose these types of subconscious automatic rules that patients live by, referred to commonly as “dysfunctional assumptions” and “automatic thoughts”. By making patients aware of their own subconscious approaches to life’s obstacles, we are able to begin the process of correcting these misinterpretations by actively challenging them and introducing behavioral change.
Who should I call?
Clinical psychologists are experienced in a variety of clinical settings. They are compassionate and dedicated to their craft. Clinical psychology is an art form: No two patients, even if given the same diagnosis, are completely alike. The best treatment approach should reflect this complexity, and this is evident in the excellent outcomes clinical therapists have been able to achieve in many of their patients. If you feel that a specialist can help you or a loved one, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment today.