Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

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Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Treatment

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is a broad term used to describe various therapeutic techniques and approaches to help people manage their problems by changing their thoughts, feelings and behaviour. 

CBT treatments are typically short-term, present-focused talk therapies that combine cognitive therapy (exploring how a person thinks) with behaviour therapy (examining how a person behaves).

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

Unlike some talk therapies, cognitive behavioural therapy generally focuses on a person’s current problems rather than an in-depth analysis of past issues.

Cognitive therapies offer practical ways to explore, modify and improve unhelpful or negative thoughts, thus teaching individuals practical coping skills they can apply outside therapy sessions and in their daily lives.

Treating mental health disorders

Various strategies are used in cognitive behavioural therapy to help people identify and challenge automatic negative thoughts that contribute to (or worsen) emotional difficulties.

Here, you will learn more about the value of cognitive behaviour therapy.

This information will include how a CBT therapist can help you overcome any challenges or difficulties by exploring and reframing negative thoughts that may have prevented you from reaching your utmost potential.

Positive self talk

CBT aims to replace destructive or unhelpful thought patterns with more realistic, positive ones.

Adjusting how you think can, in turn, allow you to make positive, lasting changes to how you feel and behave.

How CBT helps people develop healthy coping skills

Let’s say you want to address a particular thought or behaviour pattern.

Perhaps you notice your inner dialogue is filled with negative self-talk, or you frequently turn to substance use such as drugs or alcohol to cope with stress.

We all have different coping styles to help us deal with stress, and that’s okay.

However, problems arise when these coping skills become destructive or harmful, like reckless driving, for instance, or substance abuse.

Unlearning destructive behaviours

The good news is that you can unlearn unhelpful behaviours through treatments such as cognitive behaviour therapy.

All this involves relearning healthier coping skills that can empower you, particularly during the more challenging days.

CBT is also an effective treatment for various mental health disorders. Let us explain why.

CBT for anxiety and depression

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the most researched therapies widely used to treat various physical and mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.

In addition, cognitive behavioural therapy is also an effective treatment for the following mental health conditions:

What are the different types of CBT?

While there are different types of CBT, many of these therapies share similar characteristics.

Some of these similarities include the following:

  • Emphasising the importance of the present moment
  • Understanding the connection between thoughts, emotions and behaviours and future goal setting. 

CBT therapeutic approaches

Therapeutic approaches that utilise CBT techniques include:

Cognitive therapy (CT)

Cognitive therapy assumes that negative thought patterns (automatic thoughts) trigger maladaptive emotional and behavioural responses.

CT focuses on current thinking and is oriented towards problem-solving and goal-setting. This approach helps people to identify and change distorted thinking patterns, emotional responses and behaviours. 

Behaviour therapy (BT)

Behaviour therapy is more of an action-based treatment that focuses on the belief that all behaviours are learned and, therefore, can be changed and unlearned.

For example, let’s say you want to change a specific behaviour pattern.

Perhaps you behave impulsively or make life-changing decisions too quickly, such as leaving your job without a backup plan or ending a significant relationship you later regret.

You can begin modifying and changing these behaviours by identifying potentially self-destructive or unhealthy behaviours and exploring how your environment may trigger them.

Behaviour therapy’s primary goal is to teach and reinforce healthy behaviours by removing any thoughts (and actions) that are unwanted or maladaptive. 

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behaviour therapy combines cognitive therapy, behavioural strategies, skills training, and exposure therapy to help people manage distressing and dysfunctional emotions and behaviours.

DBT focuses on acceptance and acknowledges how challenging it can be to make changes.

Regulating thoughts and feelings

Studies show that DBT effectively treats various mental health disorders, such as borderline personality disorder (BPD).

People with this condition tend to feel their emotions intensely. Thus one of DBT’s treatment goals is to help individuals regulate their emotions, allowing them to remain calm during periods of stress.

This form of therapy uses various strategies to help individuals achieve their treatment goals and experience better outcomes.

DBT strategies include:

  • Emotional regulation
  • Mindfulness
  • Acceptance
  • Skills training

Rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT)

Rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT) is used to help individuals recognise irrational beliefs that can lead to emotional or behavioural problems.

REBT encourages individuals to identify self-defeating, irrational thoughts and feelings related to the self and the world.

Additionally, this treatment helps people challenge any unhelpful or irrational thought processes by allowing them to change these destructive patterns to more healthy ones.

Addressing negative thoughts

While cognitive behaviour therapies may use different approaches, they ultimately work towards the same goal: addressing underlying thought patterns contributing to psychological distress.

Depending on your individual needs, symptoms and history, your therapist can help you address specific issues that may consistently crop up in your life through personalised treatment programs such as cognitive behaviour therapy.

Your therapist will consider your background, symptoms, previous treatment outcomes, personality traits and strengths and weaknesses.

If you want to address any negative thoughts and feelings that are holding you back, now is the time to speak to one of our specialists, who can offer guidance and support.

What type of conditions does CBT treat?

Cognitive behaviour therapies are highly effective treatments for those who want to address any unhelpful or harmful behaviours that cause distress to the individual and those they love.

For example, a person may experience unwanted thoughts or engage in harmful behaviours such as excessive drinking or drug-taking.

If left untreated, these behaviours may spiral and lead to more destructive acts, including violence or self-harm.

A practical approach to therapy

Cognitive behaviour therapies are especially beneficial for those who prefer a practical approach to problem-solving and recovery.

But that’s not all.

CBT is also proven to be an effective treatment for various mental health conditions, such as:

  • Substance addiction
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic attacks
  • Personality disorders
  • Phobias
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Problems with stress management.

Physical conditions

Cognitive behaviour therapies are also used as complementary therapies to help treat those with chronic health conditions, such as:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • Fibromyalgia.

CBT may help improve patients’ quality of life

Studies show that while CBT treatments cannot cure the physical symptoms of chronic conditions like the ones above, they can positively affect how people cope with them, thus significantly improving their quality of life.

What does CBT involve? 

During therapy sessions, an individual will work closely with a CBT therapist to break down and explore their problems into separate, manageable parts.

Together, the therapist and patient will unpack, identify and explore destructive or disturbing thought patterns, including any effects they have on the individual’s life. 

The therapist can help the patient to challenge these thoughts and develop alternative, more helpful ways of thinking. 

CBT aims to teach people new, healthy coping strategies that help empower them, especially during stressful periods.

Alleviating psychological distress

CBT helps to reduce psychological distress through evidence-based techniques such as emotional regulation, stress management, mindfulness, and acceptance strategies.

Ultimately, this type of therapy helps people to cultivate more positive thoughts, feelings and beliefs while instilling helpful, healthy behaviours. 

Typically, therapy sessions will involve:

  • Identifying negative thoughts.
  • Setting manageable goals and problem-solving.
  • Practising new skills and learning to self-monitor. 

CBT strategies

The principles and strategies taught in CBT can be applied whenever a person needs them or at any other time. They include:

  • Cognitive reframing
  • Activity scheduling and behaviour activation
  • Relaxation and stress reduction techniques
  • Journalling
  • Mindfulness techniques
  • Role-playing
  • Mental distractions.

Experiencing better treatment outcomes

If you want to experience better treatment outcomes, studies have shown that people undergoing CBT treatment must spend some time outside therapy sessions completing homework assignments and practising the techniques learned in therapy. 

How effective is CBT?

Cognitive behaviour therapy is one of the most researched therapies.

You might be wondering why this is. Broadly, research has shown that because CBT is a goal-oriented treatment, the results can be more easily measured than many other therapies.

Controlled trials consistently prove CBTs’ efficacy in treating various mental health disorders, including substance and behavioural addictions, anxiety, depression and phobias. 

CBT is an effective treatment for many people

CBT treatments are becoming increasingly popular and diverse in their application and have proven highly effective for people of all ages, including children, adolescents and adults. 

Some of the advantages of CBT include the following:

  • CBT treatment can be completed in shorter time frames than other talking therapies (depending on the type and number of issues).
  • CBT empowers individuals to take control of their lives with the support and guidance of a therapist.
  • CBT helps people deal directly with any present problems without a detailed analysis of the past.
  • CBT is structured and can therefore be delivered in different formats, such as self-help books, group therapy and apps.
  • Treatment is monitored, meaning progress can be set to meet each individual’s needs.
  • CBT provides long-term solutions and practical strategies that can be used in everyday life after treatment.
  • CBT is more affordable than various other types of therapy.

Some of the disadvantages of CBT include the following:

  • CBT’s primary focus is on immediate, specific problems; therefore, underlying mental health conditions may not be identified or addressed.
  • Treatment requires an ongoing commitment to the process for successful results โ€“ the therapist can offer guidance and support. Still, the individual has to invest the time and effort needed to bring about lasting change.
  • CBT provides limited long-term success, especially for people with learning difficulties or more complex mental health needs.
  • For some, CBT can cause heightened anxiety and emotional distress (in the short term) as issues and emotions are confronted.
  • While the individual is empowered to change their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, the therapy cannot address issues caused by external factors impacting well-being. 

That said, many people experience favourable treatment outcomes with CBT; therefore, it is a highly recommended treatment for various issues and mental health disorders.

Contact us today to learn how cognitive behaviour therapy can help with many mental health issues or concerns you might be experiencing. 

Now is the time to reach out for support and help. We are ready to take this next step with you – speak to a friendly specialist today.

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