People's Lives are Changing Thanks to CBT
Mar 19, 2020
How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Works
Therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapy that helps restructure negative thought
patterns and behaviors into positive, constructive ones. It starts by identifying
distorted thoughts and thought processes that can lead to repetitive
cycles. Once you pinpoint the first thought and subsequent ones, you
can dispute the validity of the ideas. The helpful thought replaces the
unhelpful one, giving you a new route of thinking.
In CBT you learn to recognize each type of thinking, which allows you to
question it, knowing that it is not truthful or helpful.
The Origin and Success of CBT
The development of CBT
treated depression, but over the years has helped those with problems
involving alcohol and drug abuse, insomnia, anxiety, schizophrenia,
eating disorders, cancer, and other issues. CBT is 85%
successful in patients, making it one of the most effective and
promising treatments we have. Traditional CBT relies on identifying and
changing maladaptive thought patterns while positive CBT focuses on
strengths. This therapy helps you reevaluate your thinking
instead of blindly believing the sabotaging thoughts you may have about
yourself. It uses problem-solving skills to help you cope. It helps
develop self-confidence and belief in your abilities.
Your thoughts and
beliefs can affect your behavior, so making changes starts with your
thoughts, perceptions, attitude, and beliefs. The interesting thing
about CBT is that it's one of the few psychotherapies you can
do by yourself and encourages having patients become self-therapists.
The goals of CBT are to:
- Relieve symptoms
- Solve problems
- Obtain skills and learn coping mechanisms
- Help the patient change thoughts and behaviors
Validity testing, journaling, and guided discovery are some techniques that may help. There are other forms of CBT including Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Each one is useful for different reasons.
One exercise you can try will help you during the disputing process.
- Grab a piece of paper and a pen.
- Draw three columns vertically down the page.
- In the first column write "Unhelpful Thought" then "Objective Points" in the second, and "Modified Thought" in the third column.
- Write each distorted thought in the first column. Such as, "I don't look good. I'm too fat."
- In the second, write the objective points, or the facts. "I lost 30 lbs in the last 6 months!" "I get compliments about how I look." These are truthful thoughts that can be proven and challenge the first.
- In the third column, write a helpful, positive thought derived from the objective. "If I keep up my hard work, I will lose more weight and be healthier."