Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, also known as CBT, is defined as “a type of psychotherapy in which negative patterns of thought about the self and the world are challenged to alter unwanted behavior patterns or treat mood disorders such as depression.” Rather than looking to the past to explain mental upset, CBT focuses on solutions. Patients are encouraged to challenge distorted thoughts and change destructive patterns of behavior.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is empirically based. This means it is provable or verifiable, rather than being based on theory alone. Dr. Aaron Beck developed it. According to Dr. Beck’s model, dysfunctional beliefs or thoughts about oneself, the world, or general beliefs lead to automatic thoughts in particular situations. The theory indicates changes in emotional distress and problematic behaviors when strategies to change the dysfunctional thoughts are created.
CBT has been utilized to treat a variety of disorders. It’s used to treat many disorders that traditional therapy was not effective with. Some of the most common disorders treated with CBT include:
- Substance Use Disorder
- Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders
- Bipolar Disorder
- Anxiety Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- Chronic Pain
CBT focuses on a person’s thoughts and the impact they have on feelings and behavior. For example, if someone is trying to overcome drug addiction and have the persistent thought, “I can’t beat it,” they will experience negative emotions. Those negative emotions can lead to behaviors like reaching out to a dealer, refilling the pain medication prescription, or spending time with other drug users. CBT addresses thoughts that can lead to undesired behavior. By changing negative thinking patterns, future behaviors can be changed.
CBT retrains the brain. It is based on the premise that our thoughts create our feelings rather than people or situations. This means we can change if external circumstances stay the same. According to WebMD, CBT is helpful with:
- Identifying negative thoughts and emotions
- Preventing addiction relapse
- Managing anger
- Coping with grief and loss
- Managing chronic pain
- Overcoming trauma and dealing with PTSD
- Overcoming sleep disorders
- Resolving relationship difficulties
CBT is proven to be effective in treating a wide range of problems and disorders. If you or a loved one are struggling, CBT may be right for you. Reaching out to a treatment center is a great place to start. There is hope. You are not alone.
Hope exists in recovery. Design For Change offers a refuge for addicts seeking recovery in a long term residential program with a full continuum of care options. Grounded in the 12 step philosophy, our programs focus on creating change by taking action.