What is CBT?

CBT stands for ‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapy,’ which is a form of therapy that mainly centres on talk between you and your therapist. By engaging in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, you’ll learn to recognize negative thought patterns and how to challenge these with more positive ones.

Through CBT, you’ll become better equipped to change self-defeating behaviours into constructive ways of coping.

Several studies have shown CBT is more effective than other forms of therapy. In some cases, CBT can be just as effective as taking medication! So, you see, CBT isn’t just effective as a therapeutic method but can also be a cheaper alternative for you.

Common Problems CBT Helps You With

There’s no magic bullet for mental health. But Cognitive Behavioral Therapy’s focus on altering unhealthy thought patterns and maladaptive behaviours makes it highly effective for a wide range of disorders. Below are common mental health concerns that CBT can help you fix.

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Anger management
  • Eating disorders (i.e, Anorexia, Bulimia, EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified))
  • Mood disorders (i.e, Bipolar Disorder, Cyclothymic Disorder)

Key Tools in Conducting CBT

Like many people, you might think that counselling to a therapist who wears serious-looking glasses and sounds like a professor. And you’re asked endless questions about your childhood, your mother and your inner-child. If that sounds unappealing to you, then don’t worry: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is nothing like that.

In CBT, your therapist focuses on helping you address problems that are happening in your life today. And CBT therapy provides you with many different techniques to deal the issues you want to address.

This is done learning a variety of tools

  1. Cognitive restructuring is a technical-sounding that means ‘changing unhealthy ways of thinking’. It’s one of the main tools in the CBT toolbox. Using cognitive restructuring, your therapist helps you identify unhealthy negative thoughts and change these unhealthy thoughts. And you learn to replace the unhealthy thinking with thinking that is more beneficial for you

For example, the false belief of ‘nobody cares about me’ may cause you to spiral into a depressive episode. Your therapist helps you stop this thought in its tracks before it takes over and then, through restructuring, helps you learn how to change this thought to something more realistic.

  1. Positive Self-talk is exactly what it sounds like. When challenging negative thought patterns, your therapist also help you use positive self-talk. ‘Mind over matter’ isn’t just a tired old adage. When the going gets tough, positive self-talk functions as a reliable source for encouragement which improves your motivation, confidence, and productivity
  2. Positive reinforcement is another key component of CBT. The first two methods described show the cognitive side of CBT while positive reward provides for the behavioral side of this therapeutic technique.

If you’ve ever had a dog, you’ll know how effective treats are at getting them to behave. This is an example of positive reinforcement and it doesn’t just work on dogs. But people are more complicated. Providing yourself with rewards in exchange for positive behaviour–like doing the dishes or not drinking when stressed–helps you encourage that behaviour and build it into a regular habit.

  1. Journaling is the practice of writing about your daily life. Your therapist may ask you to keep a journal where you can note down troubling thoughts and emotions you’ve had throughout the day. This lets you explore and process those thoughts and emotions with your therapist. Journaling can also help you deal with your stress by giving you write about what’s bothering you. In session, you can discuss this with your counsellor, get a better understanding of why you were stressed, and learn ways to better deal with future stressful situations.

What CBT can do for you

Cognitive behavioural therapy teaches you skills to manage mental health problems like anxiety, depression or trauma. You learn to manage your troubling thoughts and difficult emotions wherever you need – whether you’re alone by yourself or around others.

And CBT gives you the tools to deal with situations and challenges that used to hold you back. It’s no surprise that you start to feel more confident and are able to live your life more fully.

How CBT Improves Your Life in the Long Term

Since Cognitive Behavioural Therapy provides you with the skills and knowledge to cope with your mental health concerns, you’ll eventually be able to manage these problems on your own. By granting you the things you need to cope even without a therapist, reseach shows that CBT remanins more effective in the long term than many other therapy approachs that require more constant professional help.

On top of that, the coping skills you will pick up through CBT serve as a reliable source of mental health support. You can always count on CBT techniques to be useful in helping you cope – especially at points in your life where medication may not be physically or financially accessible.