Most people share similarly simple goals for life: maintain happiness and health, spend time with the people we love and create peaceful earth for those who come after us.
Even though our goals are the same, the obstacles that hinder us from achieving them can vary widely. When we experience these challenges, it can be difficult to see past the issues we’re facing in the moment. That’s where cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help by teaching you to replace negative thoughts and behaviors with a more positive, productive outlook.
What is cognitive-behavioral therapy?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy—psychotherapy that 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 subconsciously, but CBT helps to change that. CBT works to replace negative reactions that worsen the situation with realistic reactions that help you see the situation in an objective, straightforward manner.
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. Some of the disorders where cognitive behavioral therapy can yield positive benefits include:
Addiction & substance use
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 many disorders as they pursue life goals and navigate ongoing challenges.
Are there different types of CBT?
Depending on the diagnosed disorder, the severity of the disorder and the details of your situation, any one of a number of cognitive-behavioral therapy types might be recommended. The most commonly suggested techniques include:
Cognitive therapy that helps individuals overcome misaligned or incorrect thinking patterns or automatic emotional responses;
Multimodal therapy helps clients identify seven distinct, but related, “modalities” including behavior, affect, sensation, imagery, cognition, interpersonal influences and drug/genetic factors;
Rational emotive behavioral therapy targets and replaces irrational beliefs or reactions with rational life responses.
Though different in practice and in the application, the 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 you address the disorders, it also teaches you to identify the causes and to work toward eliminating or minimizing their influence in your life.
What can I expect from an online cognitive behavioral therapy session?
Pyramid Online Counseling offers online cognitive behavioral 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 exercising cognitive behavioral therapy is by identifying and addressing the negative responses that occur as a result of the disorder. This step can prove difficult, especially for those 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 by mitigating any negative reactions at 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 under the guidance of the therapists 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 for you and your therapist to identify healthy responses and coping mechanisms for when challenges do arise. Make it a priority to identify the best ways to react to the events around you, and don’t be afraid to celebrate the victory when you begin putting what you’ve learned into practice.
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.