Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a generalized term for various techniques involving talk therapy or psychotherapy. It’s used to address and treat specific mental and emotional conditions or any difficulty that affects one’s overall well-being.
Choosing CBT often depends on personal preferences other than a doctor’s recommendation. Some people decide to undergo therapy to help them cope with day-to-day problems. However, there are things you need to know to determine if it’s right for you. Continue reading.
1. CBT Different Types Target Particular Conditions
Several types of cognitive behavioural therapy differ in techniques and goals. Each type is adapted to treat specific mental health conditions and emotional difficulties.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical behavioral therapy focuses on breaking harmful behavior patterns by finding the balance between acceptance and positive change. It’s evidence-based psychotherapy used to treat conditions involving self-harm, suicide ideation, mood disorders, and substance abuse.
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is a type of psychotherapy that teaches mindfulness through meditation and other techniques. The goal is to cultivate inner calmness by focusing on the present.
MBCT treats several mental conditions like anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and depression. However, it’s also useful for anyone experiencing day-to-day stress.
Acceptance And Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and commitment therapy is an action-based treatment. It teaches patients to accept their emotions instead of suppressing them. They learn to go on with their lives mindfully, without letting these negative emotions cloud their decision-making.
ACT efficiently treats anxiety disorders, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, psychosis, addiction, and general stress.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
Rational emotive behavior therapy helps patients identify irrational thoughts resulting in negative behavioral patterns. Once these beliefs are determined, therapists will introduce logical alternatives leading to positive change.
REBT treats depression, anxiety, phobias, anger, aggression, and sleep disorders.
Exposure therapy involves gradually exposing patients to situations or objects that cause anxiety. This technique helps overcome one’s fears instead of avoiding them. It involves direct or indirect confrontation to deconstruct the triggers.
Exposure therapy treats phobias, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
2. CBT Includes Various Techniques And Tools
Cognitive behavioral therapy uses various techniques and tools adaptive to patients’ needs. These methods also depend on which types of CBT are appropriate for one’s condition.
Journaling And Thought Recording
Journaling and thought recording are common practices in psychotherapy. It helps patients keep track of their daily activities and negative thoughts that may affect them. It gives therapists an in-depth perspective of the patients’ triggers and coping mechanisms that may be healthy or unhealthy.
Cognitive restructuring is expected in REBT, focusing on breaking irrational and negative thought patterns and replacing them with rational and positive ones. It gives patients power over their minds.
Activity scheduling is an efficient technique for encouraging activities that alleviate the mood, useful for people struggling with depression and mood disorders. It may involve small chores that give a sense of pleasure and fulfillment.
Exposure To Phobias
Exposure to phobias is a technique used to help patients face what they fear and overcome it. Therapists may gradually expose patients to their triggers in a safe and secure environment.
Self-talk reveals your inner monologue and beliefs, significantly affecting your behavior and sense of self-worth. Negative self-talk is a common problem that leads to self-sabotaging and self-harm. Identifying these negativities helps patients deconstruct these patterns and introduce healthy affirmations.
Relaxation exercises help people struggling with anxiety, panic disorder, and general stress. It may involve breathing exercises, meditation, and other mindfulness techniques.
A behavioral experiment is one of the most powerful CBT techniques. It involves gathering information and testing the validity of the patient’s beliefs about themselves and the world. Then, therapists introduce and test new hypotheses that may lead to positive behavioral changes.
3. Medical Diagnosis Isn’t Required To Undergo CBT
Undergoing psychotherapy doesn’t require a medical diagnosis. It provides ways to regain the power to create positive changes and healthy coping mechanisms to overcome difficulties. Cognitive behavioral therapy is available for individuals struggling with life problems like the following:
- Divorce Or Breakup
- Serious Health Conditions
- Work Conflicts
- General Stress
Facing challenges in life is normal, and knowing when and how to seek help when things get too heavy is a sign of strength. If you think CBT can help in your current situation, it’s best to reach out to a professional.
4. CBT Has Many Benefits
As mentioned, you don’t need a medical diagnosis to undergo CBT. You may use it as a tool to solve daily problems and overcome fears. It can also be an efficient way to learn skills to live a happy, fulfilling life.
Efficient Emotional Management
Emotional management is one of the targets of CBT. Emotions are part of the human experience, and one must accept them. However, it’s best to find the balance between acceptance and appropriate response instead of going wherever negative emotions take you.
A person’s sense of control over their emotions and thoughts can increase self-esteem. Knowing how to face and overcome stressful situations can improve one’s confidence.
Learning Healthy Coping Mechanisms
CBT teaches healthy coping mechanisms to face distress and fear. Avoidance is a common coping practice most people do. However, escaping doesn’t solve the problem. Instead, therapists equip their patients with emotional and cognitive skills to face and overcome difficulties.
Improving Interpersonal Relationships
Social connections are necessary to maintain one’s overall well-being. In some cases, difficulties may lead an individual towards isolation. Some CBT techniques are specifically designed to teach effective communication and listening skills essential for building healthy interpersonal relationships.
5. CBT Requires Patience And Commitment
Cognitive behavior therapy, like other treatment methods, requires patience and commitment. Total honesty and cooperation with therapists are necessary to identify the problems and develop tools to solve them.
Some techniques used in CBT may be uncomfortable for some. For instance, exposure therapy may cause panic at first. However, committing to it helps individuals overcome their triggers and deconstruct their fear and negative thoughts.
When one is committed, the process becomes more manageable. One of CBT’s core principles is the belief that everyone wants to live a better life full of positive experiences. Tools and techniques won’t be as effective without the person’s patience and commitment.
Choosing cognitive behavioral therapy is a brave step to solve mental health conditions and general life stress. It’s an effective way to equip yourself with skills to overcome struggles and live fulfilling lives.