What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and How Does CBT Work?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a short-term, goal-oriented psycho-social intervention used to treat a variety of mental or emotional health problems that a person can face, such as anxiety and depression. 
This psychotherapy treatment helps to learn specific strategies that enable a person to make a positive change in his life. 
Cognitive-behavioral therapy also aims to show the extent to which a person's thinking affects his mood, and give him a certain way to follow it so that he can think positive and less negative about himself and his life.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy that aims to improve mental health. 

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and How Does CBT Work?

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy, and it is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment, during which several pre-determined sessions are held.

In the CBT session, the therapist helps the patient to become more aware of negative and incorrect ideas, face difficult situations in a more clear way and respond to them more effectively.

The extent to which patients benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy is not hidden. Patients with depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and even patients with eating disorders can benefit from CBT sessions.

It is worth noting that patients who do not suffer such mental disorders can benefit from cognitive-behavioral therapy as well, as the treatment helps to better face stressful situations of life. 
This treatment is based on the perceptual model, as it depends on the way the individual receives a specific event more closely related to his reaction than focusing on the event itself. 

The important part of this treatment is to help the person change his unhelpful thoughts, and change his behavior in a way that positively reflects his mood and work.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a way to talk about a person’s feelings about himself, about others and about the world around him, in addition to talking about things that affect human feelings and thoughts.

It is worth noting that CBT treatment focuses on the problems and difficulties that a person faces at the moment and in the current place. CBT is a treatment that focuses on the present rather than focusing on past causes that may have caused these symptoms to appear on the person, and therefore it is a treatment to improve a person's mental state at the present time.

Why is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy So Important?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is used to treat a wide range of diseases. This method of treatment is preferred because it is an organized method, during which the patient needs fewer treatment sessions compared to other psychological treatments, in addition to this method of treatment helps to identify and address specific challenges.

For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy can be used to treat emotional challenges. This treatment can help treat symptoms of mental illness and prevent relapse in the appearance of these symptoms. 

This treatment is also useful in some cases where drug therapy is not an appropriate treatment option, in addition to the fact that cognitive behavioral therapy helps patients overcome their affliction with other medical diseases, teaching them how to control the symptoms of chronic diseases, and also helps in grief and loss.

How Does CBT Work?

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Mental Health

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help treat some mental health conditions effectively, and these include the following:
  • Schizophrenia.
  • Depression.
  • Bipolar disorder.
  • Phobias.
  • Panic disorder.
  • Anxiety disorders.
  • Sexual disorders.
  • Sleep problems, such as insomnia.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Drug addiction (substance use disorder).
  • Eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia.
Note that CBT can be more beneficial when used in combination with other treatments, such as anti-depressants.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Emotional Problems

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be used to treat a wide range of emotional problems, the most important of which are:

⤇Control and manage symptoms of mental illness, and prevent relapses that accompany these symptoms.
⤇Treat mental illness if the medication option is not appropriate for the person.
⤇Learn about ways to cope with the stresses of life.
⤇Determine ways to control emotions.
⤇Resolve relationship differences and learn better ways to communicate.
⤇Overcome emotional trauma related to abuse or violence, and live with sadness and loss.
⤇Control the symptoms of chronic physical diseases.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Depression

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy. In depression, this therapy includes both cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. 
Cognitive therapy targets thoughts and moods, and behavioral therapy targets behaviors, and thus this therapy helps to change behavior and the mood of the individual by modifying the thinking style.

Treatment is based on the idea that negative emotions are the product of distorted and unconscious thoughts and beliefs from the past. 
CBT helps the patient healer to reach more balanced methods of dealing with stress and managing symptoms of depression.

Types of CBT for Depression
Some types of cognitive-behavioral therapy used to treat depression can be mentioned as follows:
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
  • Cognitive Therapy
  • Multimodal Therapy

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the most common treatment for anxiety disorder. Research shows that CBT is very effective in the treatment of social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobias, among much other health conditions. 
CBT identifies irrational fears, negative patterns cognitive distortions in the way we view the world and ourselves.

CBT has two main components:

Cognitive therapy:  It examines how cognitive distortions and negative thoughts or perceptions contribute to anxiety.

Behavior therapy:  It examines how you behave and interact in stressful and anxious situations.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Long-Term Health Conditions

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can sometimes be used to treat people with long-term health conditions, as this treatment helps them cope better with the symptoms of the disease, such as:
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

What is the Process of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavior therapy usually includes the following processes and steps:

Determining the situations in which the patient suffers from problems: It is possible that the problem is a medical condition the patient suffers from, divorce, sadness, or anger, or the problem may be the symptoms that the patient suffers from as a result of mental illness.
In this phase, the psychologist and the patient identify the problems and determine the goals that the patient must focus on during CBT.

The patient's awareness of his feelings, thoughts, and beliefs: When a person identifies the problem he is suffering from, the psychologist helps the person to share his own thoughts about the problem. 
This includes observing the personal speech that the patient tells about a particular experience, as well as observing his interpretation of the situation and his personal beliefs about himself and others and about events. 
The psychiatrist may also suggest that the patient start recording his thoughts on a special notebook.

Identifying negative and incorrect ideas: This step helps the person determine the way of thinking and behavior that may have contributed to the problem. 
Here, the psychiatrist urges the person to pay attention to the physical, emotional, and behavioral reactions he takes in the different situations that he may be exposed to.

Reshaping negative misconceptions: The psychiatrist encourages the person to ask about himself on the basis of which he makes his point, whether he makes it based on facts, or what is going on based on wrong and misconceptions. 
This step is difficult to treat for the patient, as the patient may be used to think long time ago in some way about his life and himself, but with training and practice it becomes a pattern of behavior and useful thinking usually in a person does not require much effort.

How Many Sessions of CBT are Needed?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a short-term treatment. The number of sessions a person needs with a psychiatrist is discussed, but usually, a person needs ten to twenty sessions. 
This depends on several factors, including the type of disorder or problem that a person suffers from, and the severity of the symptoms, as well as the patient’s period of symptoms or the problem. 
The extent of the patient's progress also affects the duration of treatment, as well as the extent of the stress experienced by the person, and the extent of the support he receives from his family members and others around him.

How to take advantage of CBT sessions

There is no doubt that the rate of benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy is not equal for everyone. 
In order to get the most benefit from it, a person can follow these tips:

Effective patient participation in treatment and decision-making with the psychotherapist.
The patient's openness and honesty, as the success of the treatment, depends largely on the patient's desire to share his thoughts and feelings without feeling embarrassed, and that the patient be open to accepting new visions and ways of making things.
Adherence to the treatment plan, as failure to comply with it may hinder the progress of treatment.
Not expecting immediate results, working with emotional matters, for example, maybe painful for the person, so that the person may feel worse during the first treatment sessions. This is because a person is beginning to face the past and present conflicts that a person suffers from, and a person may need several sessions before he feels better.
Performing the duties assigned by the patient's psychological therapist between the treatment sessions, because these duties help the patient to practice what he learned during the sessions.
If the patient does not feel any improvement after several sessions, the psychological therapist must be notified of this, as a joint decision can be made between the patient and the therapist to make some changes or change the treatment plan.

By: Mahtab Alam Quddusi

The Scientific World

The Scientific World is a Scientific and Technical Information Network that provides readers with informative & educational blogs and articles. Site Admin: Mahtab Alam Quddusi - Blogger, writer and digital publisher.

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