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What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

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Nov 9, 2017 | QA, Treatment

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a therapy that is based on how we think, which can affect how we feel and how we act. Our cognitions are integrated with our emotions and our behaviors. CBT helps deal with those emotions and behaviors that tend to form from negative aspects.

Problems that result in our lives can cause discomfort that can create negative thoughts in us. Once we are entwined with pessimistic thinking, our behaviors can follow suit in also being counteractive. There is a mantra in 12-Step programs that affirms, “We cannot act our way into right thinking, but we can think our way into right action.” CBT is influential in creating this change in perception.

Aaron Beck founded cognitive behavioral therapy in the 1960’s based off the internal dialogue that he perceived to being going on inside his patient’s heads. He coined the term “automatic thoughts” to identify the thoughts that would just drop in the mind. Beck discovered an association between thoughts and feelings. He found that upset feelings were affiliated with thoughts that were unfavorable and unproductive. Processing Beck’s automatic thoughts is the crux in overcoming mental burdens.

The therapy was initially called cognitive therapy because the importance was put on the thinking process in the brain. Cognitive therapy was then changed to cognitive behavioral therapy because behavioral approaches were included to encompass the key to a variety of our issues.

CBT is a theory that shows the incident is not what bothers us, but the actual meaning we attach to the said incident. The individual continues to carry old thoughts with them stemming from the incident, which prevents them from acquiring new attitudes. Identifying the meaning of these cognitions is the cue to defeating the difficulties that started off with the initial ideation of the incident.

Therapists that practice CBT base the therapy on two definitive efforts: cognitive reconstructing and behavioral awakening. During the therapy sessions, which can be group or individual, problem thoughts and problem behaviors are addressed by recognizing them and prioritizing them for the patient’s own educational purposes. Cognitive behavioral therapy enlightens patients on coping skills and problem solving to help prevent relapse.

Cognitive behavior therapy helps us to see more clearly in face of adversity and respond to stressful life situations in a more effective manner. Although our cognitive abilities have been limited in negative situations, CBT has helped become responsible for many of our cognitive accomplishments.

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