Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is a term you might hear a lot these days. There’s a simple answer for why: CBT is regarded as one of the most effective ways to treat a number of common psychological disorders. But what is it and how does it work?
If we break down the phrase Cognitive (Thinking) Behavioral (Actions) Therapy (Treatment), we see that it’s a method of going from one line of thinking to another. Psychological problems can stem from negative or unhelpful ways of thinking, which can in turn lead to negative behaviors. Learning new ways of thinking can positively impact a person’s actions and lead to better mental health and quality of life.
Now, this is more than adopting a positive mantra or hanging a “Live, Laugh, Love” sign in your living room. A licensed therapist can use CBT to help the patient understand why they’ve fallen into certain harmful thought patterns, notice the pattern, and correct it or work through it.
Say for example walking into a hospital brings on extreme anxiety or even a panic attack in someone. A therapist could help the person work through why that location causes such an extreme reaction using CBT. Identifying and working through those irrational thoughts can lead to reframing the thought patterns and make it so the person is better mentally equipped to go back into the same situation.
CBT has been shown to help with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and even chronic pain. CBT can be used in face-to-face sessions with a psychologist or even online with a professional therapist.