Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, helps individuals learn how to identify and alter destructive/disturbing thought patterns that can have a negative influence on behavior and emotions. This means that changing the negative thoughts that automatically appear in someone's mind, that contribute to emotional difficulties and suffering, can ultimately help with depression, anxiety, and other feelings that a client may be experiencing. 

What are some types of CBT?

  • Cognitive therapy --- involves identifying and altering inaccurate/distorted thinking patterns, emotional responses, and behaviors. Since these become so commonplace for a client, this can become quite an active and difficult process that necessitates continual mental practice. 
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) --- similar to cognitive therapy, DBT addresses thoughts and behaviors while also adding in strategies for action to better develop one's ability to identify distorted thinking patterns, such as emotional regulation and mindfulness.
  • Multimodal therapy --- this technique utilizes the angle of addressing psychological issues through a consortium of lenses, including behavior, affect, sensation, imagery, cognition, interpersonal factors, and drug/biological categories. 
  • Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) --- involves identifying irrational beliefs, actively challenging the merit of those beliefs, and ultimately learning to recognize and change those thought patterns. 

What are some techniques used in CBT?

  • Identifying negative thoughts --- this identification process can lead to an individual's sense of self-discovery and can lead them to insights that are essential to having an effective treatment process. 
  • Practicing new skills --- this involves guiding clients through potential novel situations that can allow them to work on a new skill they are trying to learn. For example, a client with substance use disorder can begin to practice coping skills and rehearse ways in which they can deal with social situations that could trigger a relapse. 
  • Goal setting --- this gives the client something to work toward and can add more meaning behind taking the necessary steps to changing negative thought patterns. A client can be guided through the process of figuring out a goal, distinguishing between long- and short-term goal-setting, and how to focus on the process of working toward a goal instead of just focusing on the end outcome, including taking any inventory of insights gained in the process. 
  • Problem-solving --- clients who gather problem-solving skills are better equipped to identify and solve problems that may arise from various stressors. Problem-solving in CBT is composed of five steps:
    • Identifying a problem
    • Generating a list of possible situations 
    • Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each possible solution
    • Choosing a solution to put into practice
    • Put the solution into practice 
  • Self-Monitoring --- this process involves keeping track oof behaviors, symptoms, and experiences over a period of time and sharing them with a therapist.
What are some problems associated with undergoing CBT?
  • Change can be difficult --- becoming aware of thoughts does not make it easier to alter them; this will take consistent practice and time. 
  • Structured --- CBT follows more of a steady approach to addressing psychological issues and may not go as deeply into underlying unconscious feelings as other approaches, which could be more applicable to some clients. 
  • Clients must be willing to change --- hearing that thought patterns must be altered to result in better outcomes is not enough; clients must put in the energy and work to make those changes a reality.
  • Progress is often gradual --- clients may struggle with the idea of not seeing results right away, but everyone is capable with practice and time.

Here at Madrigal, we are committed to using cognitive behavior therapy to help you reach your best potential. 

*This information was adapted from Very Well Mind. Click here to learn more information.*