I regard Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as a key component in my wellness armoury since it aims to help people become aware of when they make negative interpretations, and of behavioral patterns which reinforce distorted thinking. Cognitive therapy helps people to develop alternative ways of thinking and behaving with a view to reducing their psychological distress.
CBT is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving. Its goal is to change patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind people’s difficulties, and so change the way they feel.
The basic steps of CBT include identifying critical behaviors, determining if their behaviors are excesses or deficits, and evaluating critical behaviours for frequency, duration, or intensity. If the critical behaviours are in excess, attempt to decrease the frequency or intensity; if there is a deficit, attempt to increase behavioural frequency, intensity, and duration.
CBT has been shown to help with many different types of problems. These include: anxiety, depression, panic, phobias (including agoraphobia and social phobia), stress, bulimia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and psychosis.
CBT can be as effective as medication in treating some mental health problems, but it may not be successful or suitable for everyone.
Some of the advantages of CBT include:
- it may be helpful in cases where medication alone hasn’t worked
- it can be completed in a relatively short period of time compared to other talking therapies
- the highly structured nature of CBT means it can be provided in different formats, including in groups, self-help books and computer programs
- it teaches you useful and practical strategies that can be used in everyday life – even after the treatment has finished