Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapeutic treatment that helps people understand the thoughts and feelings that influence behavior. CBT is a tool that has been used in therapy for decades to treat many things including mood disorders to phobias. You started having thoughts and feelings when you entered this world and CBT is the basis and starting point of gaining awareness and control of those thoughts and feelings.
Perception creates our reality. So five people experiencing their boss coming into a room and saying, “You did a great job,” may be interpreted five different ways. One person thinks, “I did do a great job, didn’t I?” and the next may think, “Oh, she’s being sarcastic, I really screwed that one up.” How we interpret the situations we are in day-to-day impacts our emotional and therefore behavioral reaction.
If the guy that interpreted his boss with “Oh, she’s being sarcastic, I really screwed that one up,” feels defeated and worthless after, he may be less likely to volunteer for the next project… which makes him question his worthiness in the job… which makes him feel more defeated… and on. You get it.
We all have thought distortions throughout our day. Some of the most common are seen below:
The way we see and feel about the world stems from our childhood, the culture around us, and the patterns we have become stuck in. A therapist will use CBT to help you become more aware of your cognitions and how they are keeping you stuck in unhealthy patterns. They will also help you learn strategies to change the way your mind filters situations and work through the old traumas that impacted your beliefs in the first place.
To be in charge of our own minds will free us from the prison of distortions.
Uses of Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Cognitive behavior therapy has been used to treat people suffering from a wide range of disorders, including:
- Eating disorders
- Panic attacks
What To Expect
In CBT you can expect your therapist to get to the heart of the matter. You might be peeling back layers that cause some more of those feelings and that is the beauty of healing. You get to have your own experience constructively and in the safety of a skilled and trained therapist.
You get to become aware of the thoughts and feelings so that they can be processed and understood.
Behavior is learned and stems from the environment we have been in. In CBT you can expect to learn how to let go of what you no longer need to carry into the present. We like to think of it as: you grow through what you go through. You went through something and now you get to realize the lesson and what it is showing you.
The tools you will gain in CBT therapy will allow you to interpret and deal with things in your environment.