Cognitive behavioral therapy, abbreviated as CBT), is a psychotherapeutic treatment which focuses on a person’s feelings and thoughts affecting their behavior. It is a psychotherapeutic approach that can be used to treat a variety of disorders, such as addictions, phobias, anxiety, and depression.
CBT treatment is usually short term and directed towards encountering and dealing with very specific problems. In CBT, the therapy prepares people to identify thought patterns and elements of behavior which are regarded as negative.
The practice of CBT is based on the idea that feelings and thoughts play an important role in personal behavior. Thus, a person who is fearful of heights will tend to avoid heights. Thus, thoughts and feelings are linked to behavior.
The objective of the CBT approach is to train the patient to realize and understand that although they cannot control every element of their world, they can control how they respond and react to stimuli in their environment.
CBT is a useful practice particularly in regard to many psychological problems and disorders because it tends to be effective in the short term, making it both efficient and affordable. Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of CBT in dealing with a variety of behavioral problems and disorders.
Negative Thoughts are an element in many behavioral problems and disorders, and CBT can be effective in aiding people to encounter and control their negative thoughts. What seem to be automatic negative thoughts can be important elements in individual’s emotional problems, often leading to anxiety and depression. The problem is that negative thoughts seem to automatically come to mind and be accepted as if they were true. This affects the person’s mood, which, in turn, can affect their behavior.
The CBT process provides patients with a way of analyzing and thinking about their negative thoughts from an objective, realistic point of view rather than the established way that they have come to regard them. This separates reality from the imagination because it is the imagination that tends to dramatize and create problems of various kinds resulting from their incorrect thoughts and thought patterns. When seen from the unbiased and realistic point of view, thoughts which might otherwise lead to anxiety ad depression or other behavioral or social problems can be analyzed, ameliorated, and defused. The objective is to substitute patterns of positive thought for the negative thought patterns.
The CBT process encourages patients to analyze their thoughts and focus on factual evidence rather than previous emotional responses. Evidence from reality demonstrates that the negative thoughts are irrational and should be ignored and replaced by realistic thoughts. Thus, reality-based positive thoughts come to motivate personal behavior rather than unreal, non-reality-based thoughts. This promotes an environment for healthy thought patterns motivating healthy actions and behavior.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy Types
CBT therapeutic approaches have been developed from principles and concepts derived from psychological modeling of human emotions and behavior. As such, they demonstrate a variety of approaches to treatment for differing problems or disorders.
- Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy(REBT) is a type of CBT that focuses on the identification and alteration of irrational thoughts and beliefs. The process focuses on identifying irrational thoughts and beliefs which have underlayed or motivated irrational behavior. The irrational beliefs are challenged, and the therapy teaches the individual to exchange the irrational beliefs with rational thoughts and beliefs.
- Cognitive Therapy focuses on the identification and change of distorted or inaccurate thought patterns, associated emotional reactions and responses, and behaviors.
- Multimodal Therapy is directed at addressing psychological problems and disorder through an approach providing for affect, behavior, sensation, cognition, imagery, interpersonal factors, and drug/biological factors.
- Dialectical BehaviorTherapy addresses thought patterns and behaviors, and teaches the strategies of mindfulness and self-regulation.
Thus, CBT offers a variety of approaches to dealing with thought and behavioral problems. A professional psychologist works with the patient in assessing the problems and determining the best CBT approach and strategy to effectively ameliorate or eliminate adverse thoughts and behaviors.