Have you heard someone use the phrase Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? It can easily sound intimidating and likely led you to a Google search to uncover the meaning of this mystery style of counseling. So, what does this complex phrase mean exactly?
What does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) mean?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy involves evaluating the way you think and feel from situation to situation, helping you identify thinking patterns that were learned earlier in your life. CBT assumes that a person’s behavior and feelings are the results of learned (and often faulty) thinking patterns. The cognitive behavioral model says that the areas of behavior, thought, and feeling all affect one another, so changes made in any one area necessarily affect both other areas.
For example, if you are a “perfectionist” and have the belief that you must do everything perfectly in life, you may sometimes feel very bad about yourself when you make a completely normal human mistake.
What type of situations does CBT work best for?
CBT is supported by a large body of research indicating it is quite effective in treating a variety of emotional difficulties and overcoming a wide range of life challenges. It is often utilized in conjunction with other therapy methods and techniques, and can be used to address:
- Couples Issues
- Career Issues
- Stress Reduction
- Motivation and Goal Setting
- Social Anxiety
- Sleep Problems
- Panic Attacks
- Sexual Issues
- Anger Management
What does CBT look like?
Traditional CBT “looks” the same in terms of working with a therapist in a safe therapy setting.
CBT includes tasks and strategies designed to help you re-evaluate your core beliefs and cognitive patterns, allowing for a more informed, conscious decision as to whether these beliefs are, in fact, accurate or desirable. Your therapist will help you uncover specific components aimed at altering behavioral responses and commonly involves practical strategies for problem-solving, time management, and increased focus.
For example, if you want to change careers, lose weight or improve your dating life, your CBT counselor will help you learn how to structure your time, set reasonable goals, and become increasingly aware of self-defeating habits as you pursue the life you want.