This is the simple basis for how Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) works. CBT is a short-term psychotherapy technique which focuses on how thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes affect feelings and behavior. The goal of CBT is to teach coping skills for dealing with different problems. It first came on the scene about forty years ago as a means of treating depression.Jumbled and distorted thinking can lead to stressful problematic behaviors, whereas thinking with less negativity allows a person to respond to challenges in an effective way. When an individual experiences a stressful event, automatic thoughts come to mind that lead to negative moods and emotions. Research has proven that using CBT to break down large problems into smaller, manageable ones removes the ‘overwhelming’ aspect of dealing with these issues.The technique has been shown to help not only those with depression and panic disorders, but also those with post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety, insomnia, social phobia, childhood depression, anger, marital conflict, substance abuse, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, borderline personality, dental phobia, eating disorders, and many other health and mental illnesses.However, in order for cognitive behavioral therapy to be successful, both patient and therapist (whether a counselor, nurse, or doctor) need to have an open line of communication and the common goal of recovery in mind. With a healthy collaboration, the root cause of the problem can be clearly identified, realistic and attainable goals can be set, and continual feedback can be used to adjust therapy as needed.Here are some things your therapist may ask you to think about or change in your daily life:
Identify problem areas
Awareness of automatic thoughts
Distinguish rational and irrational conclusions
Stop negative thinking
Challenge underlying assumptions
See a situation from different perspectives
Stop catastrophizing (thinking the worst)
Identifying what is realistic; is what you think really true?
Test perceptions against reality
Correct thinking so that it more closely resembles reality
Examine the validity and usefulness of a particular thought
Identify and modify distorted beliefs
Keeping a cognitive behavioral diary
Gradual exposure to fears
Stop "mind reading" and "fortune telling" practices
Avoiding generalizations and all or nothing thinking
Stop personalizing and taking blame
Focus on how things are rather than how they should be
Describe, accept, and understand rather than judge
Break the negative cycles which are making you lose your feelings of self-worth. You don’t have to live in a constant state of anxiety or fear.
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