Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

Talk therapies are the cornerstone of many mental health treatments because they allow the individual to reframe negative and distorted thoughts while promoting objective thinking and positive behavioral patterns. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) makes it possible to address previously avoided issues by anchoring the conversation in the present. Participants are encouraged to challenge thoughts and behaviors to determine what motivates them and how they can change their reactions to produce more healthy outcomes. Many research studies have proven that CBT is an excellent treatment option for individuals who may not have responded positively to medication or other therapy options.

When Is CBT Used?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is used to treat many mental health disorders, including the following:

Substance abuse
Bipolar disorder
Anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Addressing chronic life stress
Sleep disorders such as insomnia
Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Confronting various phobias
Anxiety disorders
Interpersonal relationship issues

CBT is also used to treat chronic conditions that cause a high level of physical discomfort or pain. Long-term ailments like fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, or chronic fatigue syndrome are often accompanied by insomnia and depression. CBT can effectively relieve some of the distress and teach powerful coping skills for dealing with the pain.

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How Does CBT Work?

While many traditional therapies use each session to go over past events, CBT is focused on recent experiences, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. This is done through conversations with a trained therapist during which statements are challenged and reframed to reveal unconscious biases and distorted ways of perceiving situations. The therapist will work with you to analyze your tendencies to see if they are based on objective or subjective thoughts and how these affect you.

You will be directly confronting issues that may make you feel anxious or fearful so that you can process how they impact the way you act and think in your daily life. In this way, you can begin to take control and learn new ways to behave that will lead to more positive outcomes. CBT can make it easier for individuals in recovery to cope with being in familiar environments without returning to old habits.

How Often Will I See My Therapist?

Most CBT sessions take place over the course of months or years with weekly or bi-weekly sessions. These may increase in frequency during highly stressful periods or decrease towards the end of treatment. Most CBT sessions are between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on where you live, your insurance coverage, and the severity of your condition.

There is no set time limit for CBT therapy, but the goal is to provide you with the skills needed to traverse daily life without reverting to negative habits or ways of thinking. Some people can go through an intense twenty-week period of CBT and then move on to less structured support options, while others may take a significantly longer period of time.

What Can I Expect in a CBT Session?

The first meeting is when you and your therapist become familiar with each other and decide what you want to get out of your sessions. There is usually some paperwork to complete. A goal plan will be drawn up and it can involve multiple goals that you would like to reach over the course of your therapy. You will be asked to provide a summary of your history and how you are expecting CBT to help you. The more honest and forthcoming you are during this period, the easier it will be for your therapist to find the right approach for your specific needs.

Following sessions will involve a lot of talking. A large portion of CBT consists of learning what your emotions mean and finding healthy ways to express them. The therapist will assist you in determining what thoughts, actions, and feelings are problematic and which ones are not. They will also question your resolve to change and challenge you to practice what you learn during the sessions in your daily life.

You may be asked to do some voluntary “homework,” like making lists or reviewing certain information. Activities like journaling, exposure therapy, and role-playing are a few techniques that might be used. Relaxation techniques like guided breathing, mindfulness exercises, and meditation may also be taught as coping skills.

How Do I Know if CBT Is the Right Therapy for Me?

While it is a very useful therapeutic tool, CBT may not be the perfect fit for everyone. This treatment is designed to focus on the individual and is not meant to be used as the sole treatment for abusive or toxic family systems. It also may not be able to fully address more complex or severe mental health disorders or those with learning disabilities that could interfere with the structured nature of the sessions. It takes time, energy, and dedication to turn a weekly or bi-weekly session into real-world life changes. This can be hard for certain people who might have better results from other therapy alternatives.

Reach Out Today

CBT is a versatile treatment option that can benefit a wide range of people from various demographics. It is also easy to adapt to alternative media, including telehealth options like video or voice calls, making it accessible for anyone. If you believe that you may benefit from CBT, then now is the time to reach out for more information.

We understand how essential it is to choose the right therapy option to accommodate your unique needs. Take the next step on your recovery by contacting Create Recovery Center today!