What is CBT?

Author:  Stephanie Camins – MA, LPC  

What is CBT?
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Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) emphasizes the interaction between thoughts, behaviors and feelings.  Given any event, you can choose to think in positive or negative ways.    A negative, destructive thought about the event will lead to a response which is reactionary, impulsive, and maladaptive.  As a result, negative emotional states such as anger, anxiety, and frustration arise.  When you respond to the same event with positive or neutral thoughts or beliefs, you tend to react in a more proactive, solution focused manner and experience empowering, uplifting feelings.

What is the Goal of CBT?

The goal of CBT is to help develop constructive ways of thinking that will produce healthier behaviors and beliefs. CBT has strong empirical support and is the most widely used evidence-based practice for improving mental health. Studies have documented changes in brain activity, suggesting that this therapy actually improves your brain functioning as well.

CBT is a goal-oriented treatment method. It is “present focused” in its aim to change patterns of thinking (or core beliefs) and the emotions clients feel when being faced with distress or anxiety. CBT suggests that emotions, thoughts, and behaviors all influence one another in powerful ways. It is used to treat patients who have distorted thoughts that are unhelpful and irrational.  These thoughts don’t make sense and there is no evidence that they are true yet they are automatic and feel uncontrollable. Some examples include, “I’m not good enough, I’m unlovable, I have to be perfect, It’s all my fault, I’m a failure, etc.” CBT will help to identify inaccurate or negative thinking so you can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way.

CBT Can be Used to Treat Many Problems Such As: 

  • OCD
  • Bipolar
  • Perfectionism
  • PTSD
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Grief
  • Sleep disorders
  • Phobias
  • Low self-esteem
  • Better manage stressful life situations.

CBT is most often a 16-week treatment plan which can quickly help you identify and cope with specific challenges.  Skills focus on changing 1. thoughts and 2. behaviors.  Once these two things have improved your emotions will shift.

Cognitive techniques:

  • Identify the 10 thought distortions
  • Learn strategies to restructure these distorted thought patterns
  • Replace negative thoughts with more realistic thoughts
  • Quiet your inner critic

Behavioral techniques:

  • Relaxation
  • Mindfulness
  • Journaling
  • Exercise
  • Organization
  • Goal setting

CBT will help you to manage many distressful life events from managing symptoms of mental illness to coping with stressful life situations.

See my Reading Recommendations

Depression screening tool based on the PHQ-9

This is a screening measure to help you determine whether you might have Depression that needs professional attention. This screening tool is not designed to make a diagnosis of Depression, but to be shared with your primary care physician or mental health professional to inform further conversations about diagnosis and treatment.  This assessment is entirely confidential and the results will be emailed to you.

Instructions: Below is a list of questions that relate to life experiences common among people who have been diagnosed with depression. Please read each question carefully and indicate how often you have experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few months.

1.

Little interest or pleasure in doing thing.

2.

Feeling down, depressed or hopeless.

3.

Trouble falling or staying asleep or sleeping too much.

4.

Feeling tired or having little energy.

5.

Poor appetite or overeating.

6.

Feeling bad about yourself.

7.

Trouble concentrating on things.

8.

Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed? Or the opposite, being so fidgety or restless that you have been moving a lot more than usual.

9.

Thoughts that you are better off dead or of hurting yourself in some way.

This screen is not meant to be a diagnosis. Having symptoms of depression is different than having depression. In addition, symptoms of depression can be caused by other mental health conditions, as well as physical health problems.  A trained professional, such as a doctor or a mental health provider, can make this determination and make treatment recommendations. 

If you have thoughts of hurting yourself or others seek immediate help. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Life Line at 800-273-8255.

Developed by Drs. Robert L Spritzer, Janet B.W. Williams, Kurt Kroenke and colleagues.  Available in the public domain.

Email required to send results.

2018-12-16T17:16:25+00:00