Everything you need to know about cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Most people share similarly simple goals for life: maintain happiness and health, spend time with the people we love and create a peaceful earth for those who come after us.
Even though our goals are the same, the obstacles that can hinder us from achieving them can vary widely. When we experience these challenges, difficulties that are best addressed through therapy, it can be difficult to see past the issues we’re facing in the moment. That’s where cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help, in helping us replace negative thoughts and behaviors with a more positive, productive outlook.
Cognitive behavioral therapy – psychotherapy which helps individuals transition away from negative or destructive thoughts, behaviors or patterns regarding how they see and interact with the world – often serves as the first step back to a balanced view of life.
The way we respond to the world around us is often automatic. Our body will often respond to something we experience before our minds even finish crafting an opinion. Frequent life challenges can condition our bodies to negatively respond to triggers automatically; cognitive behavioral therapy helps to change that, by helping replace negative reactions that worsen the situation with realistic reactions that help individuals see the experience objectively.
What conditions benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy?
Many different mental and behavioral health challenges can see positive benefits from even short-term cognitive behavioral therapy. Here are some of the disorders where cognitive behavioral therapy can yield positive benefits:
- Addiction & Substance Use
- Bipolar Disorder
- Personality Disorders
- Eating Disorders
- A wide variety of phobias
If a disorder is contributing to automatic, negative thoughts of destructive behaviors, cognitive behavioral therapy from a licensed medical professional can help. Since the mid-1960s, cognitive behavioral therapy has helped individuals address the above disorders, and others, as they pursue life goals and navigate ongoing challenges.
Are there different types of cognitive behavioral therapy?
Depending on the diagnosed disorder, the severity of the disorder and the details of your individual situation, any one of a number of cognitive behavioral therapy types might be recommended as therapy. We’ve outlined some of the most popular types of cognitive behavioral therapy below:
- Cognitive therapy: therapy that helps individuals overcome misaligned or incorrect thinking patterns or automatic emotional responses
- Multimodal therapy: therapy that benefits individuals by helping them address seven distinct, but related, “modalities” including behavior, affect, sensation, imagery, cognition, interpersonal influences and drug/genetic factors
- Dialectic behavior therapy: therapy that helps regulate emotions, limit self-destructive behaviors and promote mindfulness and self-discipline
- Rational emotive behavioral therapy: therapy that targets and replaces eliminate irrational beliefs or reactions with rational life responses
Though different in practice and in application, the different types of cognitive behavioral therapy are linked in their shared replacement of destructive tendencies with rational, productive responses to life. By definition, cognitive behavioral therapy not only helps individuals address the disorders that might be adversely affecting their quality of life; it also helps those same individuals to identify the causes of their issues, and work toward eliminating or minimizing their influence of the decision-making process.
What can I expect from a cognitive behavioral therapy session?
Pyramid Online Counseling offers remote online counseling therapy, allowing you to work toward improving health and mental wellness from the comfort of your own home. Whether your counseling session takes place in an office, or virtually while at home, if cognitive behavioral therapy is involved you can expect the core concepts to remain the same.
Three cornerstone principles of cognitive behavioral therapy sessions include:
1. Identification & addressing of negative responses
The first step in replacing destructive behaviors with positive, productive alternatives, is to identify and address the negative responses that occur as a result of the disorder you’re facing. This step can prove a difficult one, especially for those individuals emotionally triggered by their disorders, or anyone progressing through the identification step for the first time. This is where a therapist can be extremely helpful, in helping to mitigate any negative reactions in the moment and concentrating your focus on your disorder as separate from your identity.
2. Establish goals, not dreams
There’s nothing wrong with a dream. In this case, think of goals as dreams with roadmaps. Make sure that your goals are concrete, achievable and understandable. You should understand exactly what your goals mean to you and the steps you can fulfill to help them become a reality. It always helps to establish goals with the help of the therapists guiding your cognitive behavioral therapy session, for additional support and encouragement.
3. Implement new, productive responses
It’s not enough to work toward eliminating destructive responses from your life. Without positive reactions to take their place, the changes won’t stick. That’s why it’s so important that you and your therapist take the time to identify productive reactions to life’s challenges, and that you take it to heart. Make it a priority to identify the best ways to react to life’s ongoing challenges, and don’t be afraid to celebrate the victory when you find yourself experiencing a challenge and reacting positively.
Cognitive behavioral therapy: finding gradual, concrete progress
The first step toward change through cognitive behavioral therapy is simply the willingness to change. If you feel as though cognitive behavioral therapy could help you bring about the changes you need to see in your own life, Pyramid Online Counseling is ready to serve as your advocate in personal change. Don’t let a fear of change keep you from interacting with our team of licensed online therapists, experienced in professional medical care and well-versed in cognitive behavioral therapy.
Cognitive behavioral therapy provides you with a definitive roadmap toward appropriate responses to life’s challenges. It’s not always a roadmap that’s easy to follow; in fact, you’ll often find that changing your behaviors is one of the most difficult practices to implement and maintain. Don’t be afraid of the setbacks you experience along the way, and make sure you take the time to celebrate the moments when you meet any goals you set.
Pyramid Online Counseling’s licensed therapists are ready to help. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.