Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most common therapeutic modalities available to psychotherapists today. And unlike some therapies, it focuses on the here and now, rather than on delving deep into your past.
What makes CBT special is it’s all about challenging harmful beliefs and thoughts. One learns to notice them, challenge their validity, and reframe those thoughts.
Seeing certain things differently can help reduce distressing emotions, can help you choose better courses of action, and can help you minimize other, distorted thoughts in the future. If you change your thinking, you truly can, in many cases, change your life as well.
CBT can help you reduce anxiety, manage or eliminate depression, and manage PTSD. It can also help you cope with stress, or address self-esteem issues which could be holding you back.
CBT is a good choice for you if you are a goal-oriented person. It is also a good choice if you are willing to take an active hand in your own healing. CBT sessions help you develop better coping skills, and in some cases, CBT alone can help a person get life back under control while preventing issues in the future.
Julia has trouble in interpersonal situations because she believes she is unlikable. She is able to instantly point out all the times when someone has snapped at her, snubbed her, or even said unkind things about her. She does not see all the friends she still has, all the times when people have gone out of their way to help her, or the way her boss really appreciates her contributions at work.
She is “filtering” her reality, focusing solely on the negative. This is giving her a distorted view of what her world is really like. This view can lead her to start feeling anxious in interpersonal situations, or depressed at her inability to make the kind of social connections she desires.
After learning CBT techniques, Julie is able to stop herself when these anxieties arise, and is able to focus on the positive interactions.
A variety of studies make it clear that CBT is one of the best long-term treatments for certain issues. At times, it can outperform medication, for example. Often, people who use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy avoid relapses and are able to take lasting control of their lives.
But it is not effective, on its own, for all patients. When CBT alone is not effective, we can combine it with other therapeutic methods to achieve more lasting results.